Climate Scorecard Progress Report for France

This report is in the form of memos from Climate Scorecard Country Managers to Patricia Espinosa, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework to Combat Climate Change (UNFCCC). Below is a description of the progress the country has made made in mitigating greenhouse gas emissions since the Paris Agreement was signed in 2015 and the challenges they still face in order to comply with the IPCC goal of reducing emissions by 50% by 2030.

To: Patricia Espinosa
Executive Secretary

Subject:  Climate Scorecard Progress Report for France

From: Astrid Nouvellet
Climate Scorecard France Country Manager

I serve as Climate Scorecard’s Country Manager for France and would like to offer you the following climate mitigation progress report from the perspective of my organization.

Since its initial 2015 pledge to the Paris Agreement, France has made fair progress towards meeting its goal of reducing emissions by 40% by 2030.

Positive Developments

On the positive side, France has enacted several policies and programs with specific targets to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050.[1]

One of the main actions put in place after the COP21 was the “Plan Climat” launched in July 2017, setting ambitious goals for France to successfully meet its commitments.

With the “Energy transition for a green growth” Law (“Loi de Transition Energétique pour la Croissance Verte”), in 2015, France created a better tool to track its commitments and forecast its emissions by introducing its low carbon strategy (“Stratégie bas carbone” or SNBC).[2]

Later, thanks to the Law regarding energy and the climate (« Relative à l’énergie et au Climat », passed on November 8th, 2019[3]), the strategy was reinforced to ensure France reduces its emissions by 40% by 2030 then reaches net zero by 2050. The LPEC (Loi de Programmation sur l’énergie et le Climat), was then introduced at the same time and will be used to set the goals for the PPE (“Programmaiton pluriannuelle de l’énergie”, a multi-year plan on energy) and of the SNBC. The current PPE is covering the 2019-2028 period and will need to be aligned with the new LPEC to be promulgated by 1st July 2023.

As of today, both the PPE and SNBC are tools used to generate the integrated national energy and climate plan (PNIEC) for Europe. These different programs allow France to approach its emission goals with a comprehensive and integrated system to help the country rise to its overall climate challenges—for example, other air pollutant reduction and biomass uses plans.

On top of these programs, plans and strategies fixed by Law, Emmanuel Macron has just presented on October 12th of this year the “France 2030” investment project that will allocate up to 50% of its 30 billion euros budget towards the climate to further reduce carbon emissions, betting mainly on technologies and innovation (in nuclear and renewable energies like hydrogen, or the automation of agriculture for example).[4]

Remaining Challenges

However, the following conditions remain in France that threaten its ability to make further progress, and reach the important goal of reducing emissions by 40% by 2030.

Despite the above mentioned programs and laws, the threat remains. In 2019, several NGOs sued the country for failing to act to halt climate change, in what would be called “The Case of the Century” by French medias. On 3 February 2021, in the middle of the proceedings, the Administrative Court of Paris first condemned the country to “halt […]the progression of the noticed ecologic damage, [and] take all measures to ensure that France can reach the goals has set for itself regarding greenhouse gases reductions,” before finally ordering the State to honor its commitment (emission reduction) and repair the ecologic damage for which it was held liable on 14 October 2021.[5]

While this ruling should ensure that France produces results more aligned with its commitments in the future, there are still programs and practices that could impede on France’s progress. For instance, contrary to most countries in the Paris agreement, France’s goal is only to reduce its emissions by 40% by 2030 (and not 50%); even though the end goal remains to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050. Different laws since 2015 are reflecting this fact, failing to meet the 50% target some organizations are preaching for by 10%.[6]

Even if the country has achieved a 20% reduction from 1990 to 2019 (by reducing mainly its emissions from the manufacturing and the energy sectors) it appears that many challenges remain if France wants to even reach its goals. Indeed, based on the trends observed from 1990 to 2020, to reach 40% by 2030, France would need to reduce its emissions by 2.6% per year, and a reduction of 5.7% per year from 2020 onwards is needed to reach net zero carbon in 2050.

It appears that despite France’s actions, its actions fall short: first to meet 50% by 2030, but also to ensure the European Union reaches its 55% goal by 2030 [set by the European Green Deal (2019-2024 priorities)].[7] For the latter to be met, the French Senate has concluded on 1 June 2021[8] that France should raise its goals to a minimum of a 43% reduction to 50%.

Climate Scorecard is committed to working with other like-minded organizations to support efforts by France to make further progress in its effort to reduce emissions by 40% by 2030 and help the Paris Agreement reach its important goals.

Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions about this report or need further information.










Climate Scorecard depends on support from people like you.

We are a team of researchers providing information on efforts to reduce global emissions. We help make you better informed and able to advocate for improved climate change efforts. Donations of any amount are welcome.