French government makes progress on energy and climate bill

(EurActiv, 3 May 2019) France’s new energy and climate bill sets carbon neutrality as the main objective for domestic energy policies and sets ambitious goals for the future. NGOs of the Climate Action Network (CAN) are less impressed as concrete short-term measures appear to be lacking. EURACTIV’s partner le Journal de l’Environnement reports.

Long awaited and presented in advance by Le Journal de l’Environnement on 15 April, this bill sets out a renewed framework for climate policy as well as a list of actions, targets, solutions and ways to simplify their roll-out.

The new draft, presented in the Council of Ministers on Tuesday (30 April), appears ambitious and more in line with the Paris Agreement and EU directives.

A preamble filled with environmental ambitions

Article 1 of the bill is a brief reminder of the objectives and deadlines with the main focus being reinforced ambitions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In other words, whereas the bill’s first version aimed for a fourfold reduction in emissions by 2050, this draft has an objective more in line with the Paris Agreement: zero net emissions and carbon neutrality by 2050, a six-fold reduction or more this time.

The country’s law on energy transition aimed to reduce fossil fuel consumption by 30% by 2030, a figure that is now 40% in the new bill. As expected, the 50% reduction in the share of nuclear for electricity production has been postponed to 2035. Ten years later than the (very, very ambitious) target set by France’s law on energy transition.

A judge without binding power

Article 2 of the bill establishes the High Council for Climate Change (HCC). In operation since the start of the year, the institution headed by Corinne Le Quéré will provide an opinion on the effectiveness of government measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

According to our information, the institution’s first report is expected before next summer. The ten experts on the Council will be making non-binding recommendations on public policies.

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EurActiv, 3 May 2019: French government makes progress on energy and climate bill