In his first major speech as President, François Hollande set the course for France to become “the nation of environmental excellence” through an energy transition based on efficiency and development of renewable energy. This transition involves a sustained reduction of GHG emissions coupled with a reduction of the weight of nuclear energy in the national energy mix from the current 75% to 50% by 2025.

The Government held a National Environment Conference in 2012 where a set of climate and energy governance measures was announced, including: (1) a push for policy to reduce the EU’s emissions of GHG by 40% in 2030 and 60% in 2040 and to introduce a carbon inclusion mechanism for sectors most exposed to international competition; (2) a target for heavy vehicles to consume no more than 2 litres of gasoline per 100km within 10 years; (3) continued support for wind and solar power; and (4) a call for tenders for the creation of offshore wind farms at Tréport and Noirmoutier (1,000MW).

France produced its first National Programme for Tackling Climate Change in 2000 and its measures were later either inscribed in laws or regulations on energy, finance, agriculture, urban planning, or abandoned. The same process occurred with the Climate Plans 2004, 2006, 2009, 2011 and 2013. The Climate Plan must be refreshed every two years according to the 2005 Energy Policy Framework Law and local authorities are encouraged to adopt the same process and to draw up territorial climate plans to develop a genuinely local climate and energy policy in their own jurisdictions. The approach has been scaled up and is mandatory for territorial collectivities with over 50,000 residents. The structure and consistency of the actions on every territorial scale have also been increased by the definition of a new regional strategic frame of reference: the regional climate, air and energy plans (SRCAE).

To support the development of climate change policy, there are many research institutions, projects, and initiatives with relevance to climate change. Many receive funding through the French Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS). They include: ECLIPSE (Past Environment and Climate History and Evolution); GICC (Management and Impact of Climate Change); PNEDC (National Programme of Climate Dynamics); PATOM (Mid-Scale Atmosphere and Ocean Programme); PROOF (Biogeochemical Processes in Ocean and Fluxes); PNCA (National Programme of Atmospheric Chemistry); PNRH (National Programme in Hydrology Research); and PNTS (National Programme of Space Teledetection)

Energy Supply

The Energy Policy Framework Law 2005 has a 10% renewable energy target for 2010, involving thermal energy sources as well as the use of biofuels in the transportation sector. The Grenelle I law (2009) increased the renewable energy target to 23% by 2020, beyond the official EU target of 20%. In support of the objectives in the National Action Plan to Support Renewable Energies (2009-2020), France uses fiscal tools such as tax incentives for renewable energies or feed-in tariffs as part of the country’s finance laws.

To define the most appropriate way to change the energy system economically, environmentally, and socially, a “National Debate on Energy Transition” was held between November 2012 and July 2013, focusing on three key issues: developing renewables; energy efficiency in the housing sector; and nuclear energy. It led to a series of recommendations on energy policy, including the reduction of the proportion of nuclear energy in the energy mix from 75% to 50% by 2025. It also called for a 50% cut in total energy consumption by 2050.

The recommendations have been submitted to the Government and the draft of the ‘Law for energy transition and green growth’ was adopted by the National Assembly in October 2014, and is expected to be passed by the Senate by the end of February 2015. The draft bill confirms the targets agreed during the National Environment Conferences 2012 and 2013 as well as the National Debate on Energy Transition and the discussions at the National Council for Energy Transition. Those include five main objectives: reduce GHG emissions by 40% by 2030 (base year 1990) and to 25% of 1990 levels by 2050; reduce by 30% the consumption of fossil fuels by 2030; reduce the share of nuclear energy in the energy mix from 75% to 50% by 2025; reach a minimum share of 32% of renewable energy in energy consumption (around 40% of electricity produced, 38% of heat consumed and 15% of transport fuels); reduce by 50% final energy consumption by 2050 (intermediate target of 20% reduction by 2030). The draft bill also organises several steering tools to achieve the transition, such as development of renewable energy, development of a “recycling economy” and energy demand control – especially within the residential and transport sectors. A carbon budget (i.e. emissions limits) and the Low Carbon National Strategy (LCNS) are proposed. With carbon budgets set for 2015-2018, 2019-2023 and 2024-2028, France aims to give a constant visibility to its GHG emissions reduction goals, while the LCNS should present the general and sector-based policies to achieve it.

Energy Demand 

The integrated approach of the Grenelle has contributed to bringing principles and policies on energy demand, energy supply, and sustainable transportation into the mainstream. The Grenelle has either strengthened those policies and goals that already were part of national legislation, or has incorporated them into a dedicated law on the environment. Although some of the initial measures have proven challenging given the economic slowdown and budgetary constraints, the Grenelle II law still contains many positive provisions, including a focus on emission reductions and energy efficiency improvements in buildings and transportation (which account for the bulk of GHG emissions). It is to be reinforced by the ‘Law for energy transition and green growth’ currently under discussion in Parliament, which sets a target for energy renovation of 500, 000 residential houses per year starting from 2017 (at least 50% occupied by low income households). The Energy Policy Framework Law 2005 includes a target to decrease energy intensity by 2.5% in 2030. The Thermal Regulation 2012, complemented by creation of two new labels, strengthens building efficiency requirements, aiming at reducing the primary energy consumption in buildings by 150bn kWh between 2013 and 2020, and reducing the CO2 emissions by 13m-35m tonnes of CO2 (depending on the method) between 2013 and 2020.

Carbon Pricing

One of the key mechanisms adopted by the Grenelle I and II laws (2009/2010) was a carbon tax, set up by the Finance Law 2014 and implemented since April 2014 (EUR7, USD8.78 per ton), with incremental increase of the rate planned for 2015 (EUR14.5, USD18.2 per ton) and 2016 (EUR22, USD27.6 per ton).

Another mechanism for carbon pricing comes from the European directives transposed into national legislation, such as the French National Allocation Plan voted on in 2005 to implement the EU Emissions Trading Scheme.

REDD+ and LULUCF

All forests (public and private) are regulated by the Forest Code, which specifies the roles and responsibilities of the institutions in charge of its implementation. France has been involved in the Helsinki process since its inception and plays a leading role in the discussion of indicators for sustainable forest management.[1] According to the National Institute for Geographic and Forestry Information (IGN), there is 1.14bn tons of carbon in French commercial forests. For the period of 1996-2007, the annual carbon sink is estimated to be 14m tons.

Transportation

There are various policies and laws with relevance to renewable energy in the transportation sector, including the Climate Plan 2011, the Energy Policy Framework 2005, and the Farming Policy Framework 2006. Measures include a bonus-malus scheme to support purchases of cleaner vehicles, support to develop recharge points for hybrid and electric vehicles and vehicle location schemes. Since 2009, sustainable transportation policies have been developed around the EU Renewable Energy Directive which includes a target of 10% of biofuels in transportation by 2020. The clean transportation policy should be reinforced by the Law for energy transition and green growth once adopted.

Adaptation

Responsibilities for climate change adaptation are split between national, regional, and local levels. The creation of a National Observatory for the Effects of Global Warming in 2001 and the adoption of the National Adaptation Strategy 2006 marked the beginning of government activity in adaptation. In 2011, France published the first National Adaptation Plan. Covering the period 2011-2015, the Plan includes measures designed to prepare for and exploit new climatic conditions in France. Regional adaptation guidelines are defined in Regional Climate, Air, and Energy Schemes and local adaptation actions are designed within Territorial Climate-Energy Plans.

[1] The Helsinki Process, which began in 1990, developed guidelines for the sustainable management of forests in Europe. The Process has sought to identify measurable criteria and indicators to evaluate how European countries have progressed in their efforts to follow the principles of sustainable forest management and conservation of the biodiversity of European forests.

This country is a member of the EU and so EU legislation also applies.

Law N° 2015-992 on Energy Transition for Green Growth (Energy Transition Law) ( 2015 / Mitigation Framework )

The framework Energy Transition Law and its related action plans are designed to give France the means to diversify its energy mix and enhance its actions contributing to tackling climate change. It covers a large scope of economic activities and brings in binding energy targets for transport, housing sector and renewable energy. In its 215 articles,…read more

Farming, forest and alimentation Framework Policy No. 2014-1170 ( 2014 )

Sets outs the main targets and policies for the national agriculture and forest policy. This law offers guarantees for agriculture and forestry sustainable management, including compensation for forestry cuts. The Act recognises the carbon sequestration function of forests as well as their contribution to climate change adaptation. It also highlights among the main responsibilities of…read more

Grenelle II ( 2010 )

This law specifies the Grenelle I objectives in order to facilitate their implementation. Energy – supply-side policies: • Better linkage of renewable energy to the main energy network • Support and administrative facilitation for wind power • Incentives for solar power • Regulation of experimental carbon storage installations Energy – demand-side policies: • Carbon tax…read more

Grenelle I ( 2009 )

In 2007, the French government established six working groups gathering state and non-state actors to address ways to redefine France’s environment policy. The proposals were put to public consultation, leading to a set of recommendations presented to the French parliament in early 2008. One working group specifically addressed climate change. The Grenelle I Law states…read more

Energy Policy Framework (POPE, No. 2005-781) ( 2005 )

This law, adopted after two years of public debate, defines the objectives and orientations of France’s energy policy (energy security, competitive energy market, fight climate change, manage demand, diversify sources of supply, develop new technology). The bill states that tackling climate change is a priority of France’s energy policy. It contains objectives to increase the…read more

This country is a member of the EU and so EU legislation also applies.

Climate Plan (Policy framework) ( 2013 )

As envisaged in the Energy Policy Framework (2005), the government has regularly updated the Climate Plan (2004, 2006, 2009, 2011), with the last update published in June 2014, integrating recent EU legislation. The Climate Plan covers nine Action Areas: • Transport • Residential tertiary • Industry and energy generation • Agriculture • Forestry • Waste…read more

Thermal Regulation 2012 (RT 2012) ( 2012 )

The Regulation replaces the Thermal Regulations 2000 and 2005, introducing more stringent regulations of thermal insulation and heating systems. RT 2005 required 15% improvement of thermal efficiency (compared to a building constructed following the guidelines of RT2000) and applied to new buildings. It also created a labelling system to identify energy efficient buildings and introduces…read more

National Climate Change Adaptation Plan ( 2011 / Adaptation Framework )

The Climate Change Adaptation Plan follows from the National Adaptation Strategy 2006, which sets the overarching principles and strategic directions for a comprehensive and multi-actor adaptation action. The Adaptation Plan also aims to prevent inappropriate adaptation and ensure consistency across public policy measures relating to adaptation. It contains a large number of measures relating to…read more

Bonus-Malus: vehicle CO2 bonus and penalty system ( 2007 )

Following the “Grenelle of the environment” process, a combined bonus and penalty system was announced to encourage the purchase of low-polluting vehicles. The bonus system applies to new vehicles purchased from 5 December 2007 and is provided as a function of the CO2 emitted.…read more

Climate Plan 2004 ( 2004 )

After extensive inter-ministerial discussions, the plan was postponed five times and finally adopted in 2004. The goal of the Climate Plan 2004 was to reinforce the National Programme for Tackling Climate Change and to implement a pragmatic set of tools to respect France’s Kyoto commitments. In particular, the Plan aimed to contribute to achieving the…read more

Fédération environnement durable et autres (Schéma régional du climat, de l’air et de l’énergie- Schéma régional éolien) (Opened in 2014 )

Citation/reference number: 2014-395 QPC
Jurisdiction: France
Core objective(s): The Constitutional Council is asked to review the conformity of articles L.222-1 to L.222-3 of the Environmental Code with the Constitution.
Current status: Decided

The Constitutional Council is asked to review the conformity of articles L.222-1 to L.222-3 of the Environmental Code with the Constitution. It decided that article L.222-2 does not comply with the Constitution. The applicants claimed that these dispositions violated the principle of public participation (art.7 of the Charter of the Environment). In addition, they claimed…read more

Re Emission Quotas: Decision No. 2010-622 DC of December 28, 2010 (French Constitutional Council, 2010) (Opened in 2010 )

Citation/reference number: N° 2010-622 DC
Jurisdiction: France
Core objective(s): Challenge to assignment of quotas
Current status: Decided

Article 64 of the finance law of 2011 provides that companies will have to purchase their greenhouse gas emissions quotas for 2011 whereas quotas were distributed free of charge in 2010. Some of the companies have still not received their quotas, even though they carried out activities in 2010, and as a result challenged the…read more

Re French Carbon Tax: Decision No. 2009-599 DC of December 29, 2009 (French Constitutional Council, 2009) (Opened in 2009 )

Citation/reference number: N° 2009-599 DC
Jurisdiction: France
Core objective(s): Challenge to law proposing carbon tax in France
Current status: Decided

French Constitutional Council annulled a tax on carbon emissions. The tax was set at 17 Euros per ton of carbon dioxide. The Council ruled that the proposed tax contained too many exemptions and would not have applied to 93% of industrial emissions.…read more

Decision No. 287110 of February 8, 2007 (French Council of State, 2007) (Opened in 2007 )

Citation/reference number: Decision No. 287110 of February 8, 2007
Jurisdiction: France
Core objective(s): Challenge to validity of decree transposing EU directive
Current status: Decided

Companies from the steel industry claimed that decree n°2004-832, which transposes the EU directive of October 13, 2003 establishing a system of exchange of greenhouse gas emission quotas in the European Union, was illegal. The Companies claimed that the directive violated the principle of equality since it provided for a difference of treatment between certain…read more

Emissions More information

Rank as emitter (including LULUCF):
21-50
GHG Emissions 2007-2011 (MtCO2e)
Country-reported GHG emissions (incl. LULUCF) (MTCO2):452.14 (reporting year: 2012 )
Country-reported GHG emissions (excl. LULUCF) (MTCO2):496.4 (reporting year: 2012 )

Information More information

GHG inventory:1990, 2000, 2012
Climate risk assessment:National Communications to the UNFCCC (1994, 1997, 2001, 2006, 2009, 2013);National Adaptation Strategy (2006);National Adaptation Plan 2011-2015 (2011)

Targets

Economy wide targets - Up to (and including) 2020

EU targets adopted

Source:
Economy-wide targets - Beyond 2020

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    Targets - Energy demand

    Reduce national energy intensity by 2% a year by 2015 and by 2.5% a year by 2030 ; Reduce primary energy consumption in buildings by 150bn kWh and reduce CO2 emissions by 13-35 million tonnes (depending on the method) between 2013 and 2020; State sector: Reduce energy consumption in buildings by at least 40% and their GHG emissions by 50% by 2020. Starting 2009, vehicles purchased should not emit more than 130g CO2/km (exceptions apply) ; Starting 2010, use certified wood or wood issued from sustainably managed forests; Improve energy efficiency by 20% by 2015; Apply the ÔLow consumption buildingÕ norm to all new buildings starting end 2012 (less than 50kWh/m2/year of primary energy consumption); Reduce the energy consumption in old buildings by 38% by 2020; Complete 400,000 thermal renovations of buildings per year starting 2013; Launch a social housing programme for energy efficiency renovation for 800,000 households

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    Targets - LULUCF

    None

    Targets - Renewables

    Increase share of energy from renewable sources to 23% by 2020 (intermediary target of 10% for 2010)

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    Targets- Transport

    10% of renewable energy (biofuels) in the transportation sector by 2020;Reduce sectoral GHG emissions by 20% by 2020;Put in place an eco-tax for heavy vehicles starting 2011;Increase the share of non-road and non-aviation transport from 14% in 2009 to 25% by 2022;Increase the share of non-road and non-aviation freight by 25% by 2012;Provide by 2020 2.5 billion euro state investment for development of urban public transport;Inaugurate 2,000 km of high-speed rail by 2020;Aviation transport: reduce by 2020 the fuel consumption per passenger/km by 50% and reduce by 50% the total fuel consumption

    Source:

    Policies

    GHG Mitigation framework More information

    Law N° 2015-992 on Energy Transition for Green Growth (Energy Transition Law)

    Source:
    Adaptation framework More information

    National Adaptation Plan 2011-2015 (2011)

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    Policies - Carbon pricing

    EU ETS; Carbon tax implemented 2014 (Eur7/ton), rising to Eur14.5 per ton for 2015 and Eur22 per ton for 2016

    Source:
    Policies - Promotion of low-carbon energy (inc. renewables)

    Support and administrative facilitation for wind power; Incentives for solar power; Regulation of experimental carbon storage installations

    Source:
    Policies - Energy demand

    Publication of regional programmes for climate and energy within a year of the law entering into force; Improvement of energy saving certification schemes; High Council on Energy created to manage energy sector (including a White Certificate scheme to encourage energy efficiency);Tax exemptions, energy labels

    Source:
    Policies - Transport

    Bonus-malus scheme to support purchase of new cleaner vehicles; Support development of recharge points for hybrid and electric vehicles; Vehicle location schemes

    Source:
    Policies - LULUCF

    Use certified wood or wood issued from sustainably managed forests

    Source:

    France has a bicameral parliamentary system where legislative power belongs to the National Assembly and the Senate. The last election for the National Assembly was held in 2012, the next is scheduled for 2017. The Senate is elected indirectly by Members of Parliament and local representatives. Statute legislation may be proposed by the Council of Ministers or by Members of Parliament; the majority of bills are currently proposed by the government.

    There is a strict separation between laws and regulations. Laws determine general principles and rules in domains explicitly set out in the constitution, such as civil rights, nationality and crime. They must be voted on by the Parliament and can be blocked by the Constitutional Court if it finds that the law goes against the Constitution. In this case, the law must be modified and voted on again, or abandoned. Regulations can establish rules out­side of the law’s domain or specify more precisely how to implement laws. Regulations do not need to be voted on by the Parliament.

    Agence de l’Environnement et de la Maîtrise de l’Energie, 2014. Agence de l’Environnement et de la Maîtrise de l’Energie website [in French] [http://www.ademe.fr]. Accessed 20 November 2014.

    Assemblée Nationale, n.d. Assemblée Nationale website [in French] [http://www.assemblee-nationale.fr/]. Accessed 16 November 2014.

    Gouvernement, 2014. La transition énergétique pour la croissance verte. [http://www.gouvernement.fr/action/la-transition-energetique-pour-la-croissance-verte. Accessed 28 November 2014.

    International Energy Agency, 2011. Relation with Member Countries – France. International Energy Agency website [http://www.iea.org/]. Accessed 2 December 2013.

    Legifrance, 2014. Legifrance website [in French] [http://www.legifrance.gouv.fr].Accessed 16 November 2014.

    Legifrance, 2015. LOI n° 2015-992 du 17 août 2015 relative à la transition énergétique pour la croissance verte. [in French] [http://www.legifrance.gouv.fr/affichTexte.do?cidTexte=JORFTEXT000031044385&dateTexte=20151101]. Accessed 20 September 2015.

    Ministère de L’Écologie, du Développment Durable, et de l’Energie, 2015. La loi de transition énergétique est publiée : les mesures d’application immediate. [in French] [http://www.developpement-durable.gouv.fr/La-loi-de-transition-energetique,44350.html. Accessed 20 September 2015.

    Ministère de L’Écologie, du Développment Durable, et de l’Energie, 2014. Ministère de L’Écologie, du Développment Durable, et de l’Energie website [in French] [http://www.developpement-durable.gouv.fr]. Accessed 15 November 2014.

    Ministère de L’Écologie, du Développment Durable, et de l’Energie, 2011. Adaptation in France (English presentation). [http://www.developpement-durable.gouv.fr/The-national-climate-change.html. Accessed 17 November 2014.

    Réseau Action Climat-France, n.d. Réseau Action Climat France website [in French] [http://www.rac-f.org/. Accessed 2 December 2013.

    Last modified 21 August, 2017