Spotlight Activity: A Commitment to Phasing out of Coal by 2022 but a Delay in Coal Plant Closures
In its National Low-Carbon Strategy, Stratégie Nationale Bas Carbone, France had set a clear trajectory on reducing CO2 emissions. On November 15th, 2017 during COP23 in Bonn, President Macron confirmed that France will exit coal power before 2022. This is necessary for France to decrease its GHG emissions by at least 2%, provided the Government keeps its commitment to stop building new fossil-fuel-burning power plants. However, opposition is mounting against the closures. Opponents are slowly organizing against proposed closures of four coal power sites. The French Government will be overwhelmed by opponents to these closures if it does not act quickly.
France imports all its coal consumption, including for the four remaining coal power plants, about 600 MW each in Cordemais (2×600 MW), Le Havre, Provence and Saint-Avold. These 3GW of power are not used often, yet they still emit one third of the total CO2 emissions of the production fleet. They also often prevent the French power mix to remain under the 50 gCO2/kWh threshold that characterizes very low CO2 power mix. Shutting them down would yield a 99% carbon-free power mix, which is necessary to improve the CO2 emissions of transportation, data centers and Internet, artisanal and industrial manufacturing, heat pump heating and cooling, etc., thereby making electric power a suitable choice to build a low-carbon economy.
In order to offer this unprecedented opportunity in a country with a large population well over 50 million people, Climate Scorecard and partner organizations such as Saving Our Planet recommend to the French government to make coal power plants close earlier then 2022. Ideally, as soon as possible but no later than December 31st 2021. Since the beginning of this year, the temptation has never been so high to postpone the coal exit by a few years. However, this would be misleading and would only defeat the purpose of the Low-Carbon Strategy France has been pursuing with mitigated success so far.
For France to successfully implement carbon neutrality by 2050, it needs to shut down its coal power plants in 2020. Any further delays will open the door to keeping coal power plants open indefinitely. Moreover, this should be done without opening any new gas power plant.
Status: Standing Still
France should no longer delay the closure of coal power plants. Replacement power plants should exclude oil & gas power plants.
Write to French Republic President, Mr. Emmanuel Macron and Environment Ministers, Mr. François de Rugy, Mrs. Brune Poirson and Mrs Emmanuelle Wargon:
Example of contribution text:
“Mister President, Mr. & Mrs. Environment Ministers, Dear Sirs, Dear Ladies,
France has trouble upholding courageous decisions to reduce its GHG emissions by closing coal power plants (ref. President Macron’s speech at COP23). Yet, closing coal power plants, without opening any new fossil-fuel- burning plants, is the most effective tool to reduce CO2 emissions as soon as possible, before 2021. This has been proposed by several organizations since COP21 (Sauvons Le Climat, Saving Our Planet, Climate Scorecard & Citizens’ Climate Network).
For France to successfully reach its emissions target, we propose to include Saving Our Planet, Climate Scorecard, and Citizens’ Climate Network in working groups on the anticipated closure of all coal power plants, with a clear objective date: before Fall 2021.
We are looking forward to your answer and working on climate action together.
With our respectful and best regards [sign name]
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