France Greenhouse Gas Emissions Decreased by 16.9% From 1990 Levels

Recently Reported Total Greenhouse Gases Emissions Level in 2018: 462.8 MTs, a Decrease of 16.9% from 556.9 MTs in 1990
(Source: European Energy Agency)

Recent emission estimates quantify France’s total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from 2018 at 462.8 MTs. As depicted below in Figure 1, Carbon Dioxide (CO2) comprises the majority of these emissions at 72.8%, followed by 11.7% Methane (CH4), 8.4% Nitrous Oxide (N2O), 3.5% Fluorinated gases, 3.3% Hydrofluorocarbon (HFCs), and less than 1% of both Nitrogen Trifluoride (NF3) and Perfluorocarbons (PFCs). With global GHG emissions totaling 36.58 billion MTs in 2018, France accounts for around 1% of total global GHG emissions.

Figure 1: Data from European Energy Agency

As seen below in Figure 2—after declines throughout the early 2000s—France’s GHG emissions have been fairly stable since 2014. Per the IEA, France experienced a 12.19% declined in CO2 emissions and a 19% decline in CO2 emissions from energy generation, between 1990 and 2018. In 2019 there was only a reduction of 0.9% in GHG emissions year-over-year compared to 2018 levels.

Figure 2: Data from European Energy Agency

France currently has 108 policies in place to address their GHG emissions. On November 8th 2019, President Macron signed Loi n° 2019-1147 du 8 novembre 2019 relative à l’énergie et au climat into law and serves as the legal basis for the country to meet their Paris Agreement commitments and attain carbon neutrality by 2050. This law involves several wide-sweeping concrete measures to decrease France’s consumption of fossil fuels by 60% of their 2012 levels by 2030.

In particular, these measures involve: improving energy efficiency in buildings, lowering emissions from electricity generation, closing coal power plants by 2022, and limiting the use of most heavily polluting energy plants. Given the only recent timing of this law, it is too soon to determine the efficacy of its policies. As such, there is no concrete data on their impact or success, only brief recordings of a slight decline in GHG emissions.

While France’s greenhouse gas emissions have been fairly steady and seen only a slight decline over the past several years, they are far from meeting their stated target of a 3% decrease in emissions by 2025. The success of recently implemented measures will have to be examined in the coming months.

Activity Ratings

Emissions Levels *** / 4 stars

Emissions Policies ** / 4 stars

Combined Activity Rating ***** / 8 stars


Barbara Pompili, Minister of Ecological Transition

Address: 246 boulevard Saint-Germain, 75007 Paris

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This Post was submitted by Climate Scorecard France Country Manager Stephanie Tapolsky

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