France France

France rises six places and into the top 20, reaching 17th in this year’s CCPI.

The country’s CCPI category performance is mixed but mainly positive, with a high for Climate Policy, medium for Energy Use and for GHG Emissions, and low for Renewable Energy.

France’s relatively strong performance owes to its adoption of a new climate law, which sets out its 2050 climate neutrality target. The CCPI national experts regard this is as momentous in its climate policy, and an improvement from last year. As well as providing a legal basis for the 2050 target, it strengthens measures for decarbonisation of buildings, transport, and agriculture. Importantly, its objectives are clear and a long-term strategy and 10-year energy plan will support its delivery. The strengthened EU climate framework and Emissions Trading System will also be important for this delivery. France’s overall climate ambition, however, is still not enough to align with the Paris Agreement or even with the new EU climate target for 2030; the GHG per capita and 2030 GHG target are rated medium, but not aligned with a Paris-compatible benchmark. There has also been little consideration of the social implications for meeting the 2050 target, and the experts highlight the need for support and funding targeting local communities.

Nuclear dominates the electricity supply in France, but fossil fuels are still in its mix. While the share of renewables has grown in recent years (with the 5-year trend on its share in energy supply rated high), the experts argue more can be done to support them. Setting a phase-out date for coal-fired generation is crucial for this, along with a stronger carbon price signal, incentives for investment in low-carbon energy infrastructure, and encouragement for more electrification. The experts also regard France as an important international climate actor (with its International Climate Policy indicator rated high). Notably, it has a strong leadership role in maintaining the Paris Agreement ambition and considering climate–biodiversity interactions.

The following national expert agreed to be mentioned as contributor for this year’s CCPI: Nicolas Berhmans (IDDRI)

Technical note: how to read the target comparison graph

The graph above shows the development of a country over the past years compared with its Paris compatible pathway and 2030 target. For all three quantitative categories of the CCPI, this visualisation gives an overview of where a country is right now, where it would need to be to fulfil the Paris Agreement promises and where it aims to be in 2030.

For GHG emissions per capita, the data includes LULUCF, as used for the emissions per capita indicator. This leads to the vast changes in emissions of some countries with high forest coverage.
The calculation of individual country target pathways is based on the common but differentiated convergence approach (CDC). It is based on the principle of “common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities” laid forth in the Framework Convention on Climate Change. All Annex I countries therefore have a decreasing pathway from 1990 onwards, starting at that year’s emissions. 60 years later, in 2050, these countries are expected to reach net zero emissions. All other countries, which did not reach the level of global average emissions in 1990, are allowed to increase emissions until the average is reached. But by latest 2015 these countries, too, have decreasing pathways and 60 years to reach net zero. These pathways start from the global average.

The Renewable Energy data is given in per cent of Total Primary Energy Supply (TPES) and includes hydro energy, consistent with the respective CCPI indicator. As global distribution of Renewables (especially solar and wind) only started in the 2000s, the pathways in this category start in 2010. All countries have an equal goal: 100% Renewables in 2050, each starting from its 2010 value.

For Energy Use the Primary Energy Supply per capita is shown. All pathways for this category start at country’s 1990 values and meet at global average of 80 gigajoules per capita in TPES.
For 2°C and 1.5°C scenarios, a decrease in emissions by reducing the (growth in) energy use is as crucial as deploying renewable (or other low-carbon) technologies. The IPCC carried out a scenario comparison using a large number of integrated assessment models. From the scenarios available, we observe that the total amount of global energy use in 2050 has to be roughly the same level or a bit higher than it is today, with a margin of uncertainty. At the same time population will grow slightly between today and 2050. We therefore pragmatically chose the well-below-2° compatible benchmark to be “same energy use per capita in 2050 as the current global average”, which is 80 gigajoules per capita in TPES.