All eyes on France as government approves national climate and energy targets

climate and energy targets

French environment minister Ségolène Royal said the country’s climate package represents the “most ambitious in all of the European Union”. Creative Commons: Guillaume Paumier, 2007

The French government has approved its long-awaited Energy Bill, supporting targets to cut fossil fuel use and boost renewables.

The law sets a target to increase renewable energy to 32% – up from under 20% currently – by 2030.

Other targets under the law include a reduction in CO2 emissions by 40% on 1990 levels and a reduction of the consumption of fossil fuels by 30% over the same period.

It also lays out plans to reduce nuclear’s place in the country’s energy mix, from 75% down to 50%.

French environment minister Ségolène Royal said the package represents the “most ambitious in all of the European Union” and includes targets to cut fossil fuel use and boost renewables, and could help mobilise €10 billion of investment and create thousands of jobs,

The commitment to renewable energy has been welcomed, but NGOs warn the government must now “provide the impetus” and financing necessary to meet such targets.

With the new Energy Bill, France joins the ranks of other nations taking strong climate action and committing targets to law.

In Europe in recent months Denmark has ratified its climate law, while Finland revealed its proposed legislation to cut emissions by 80% by 2050.

The UK government also recently stood by its targets to cut emissions under its climate change act, while across the world other major economies have pledged strong climate action, including a recent announcement from the US to cut carbon pollution from power plants.

France’s national targets show “its own climate and energy house is in order” paving the way for ambitious international commitments on climate change.

Hosts of the UN’s 2015 climate summit, all eyes will now be on if France will “play the role of fair and ambitious COP president” and broker a strong global climate treaty.

Damian Ryan, Policy Manager at The Climate Group said:

Firstly, as hosts of next year’s critical UN climate conference, France needs to demonstrate that it clearly has its own climate and energy house in order if it is to play the role of a fair and ambitious COP president. This new bill would seem to go a long way to delivering this.

Secondly, and more immediately, France also needs to lay down a clear marker that puts a floor under its commitment to an ambitious 2030 EU climate and energy package. Member States are meant to reach agreement on this in October and the new bill would seem to put France in the same ballpark as Germany and the UK, its key allies, in pushing for a 40% emission cut by 2030.

The October meeting will be the country’s first opportunity to show leadership will be when EU nations meet to finalise the bloc’s climate and energy framework to 2030 in October.

France’s emissions target puts it firmly on par with the 40% reduction proposed by the EU Commission, while its ambitious renewable goal goes beyond the EU-wide proposal.

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