France Faces Considerable Loss and Damage within Its Own Borders and in Its Overseas Territories

The Global Stocktake of the Paris Agreement (GST) is defined by the UNFCCC as “a process for taking stock of the implementation of the Agreement with the aim to assess the world’s collective progress towards achieving the purpose of the agreement and its long-term goals.” The GST is an essential part of the Paris Agreement, taking place every five years beginning in 2023. The Global Stocktake also includes an assessment of the loss and damage caused by climate change. Loss and damage include the consequences of climate change that go beyond what people can adapt to on their own or when options exist, but a community does not have the resources to access them.

Global assessments of climate-related loss and damage find that risks are unequally distributed. According to a report by the OECD, both least developed countries (LDCs) and Small Island Developing States (SIDS) are at the highest risk of climate-related impacts. For example, people in LDCs might experience a 50% higher increase in extreme heat compared to the global average while in SIDS many losses and damages are associated with sea-level rise. Communities in both LDCs and SIDSs face unavoidable loss and damage. The Climate Equity Reference Project 2022  argues that wealthy countries such as France “have a moral, as well as legal, obligation to provide finance and other support to help remedy some of these losses and damages and pay their climate debt to climate vulnerable countries.” In addition, the project calculated that France’s fair contribution towards Climate Finance for ‘Loss and Damages’ should be roughly 10.1 billion Euros from 2021-2025 and 26.6 billion Euros from 2026-2030, totaling to 36.7 billion Euros from 2021-2030.

Source: Holz, Christian, Tom Athanasiou and Sivan Kartha (2022) France’s Climate Fair. Climate Equity Reference Project Working Paper Series WP007. Version 1. Zenodo. [doi: 10.5281/zenodo.2595502]

Within its own borders, however, France will also face considerable climate change loss and damage between now and 2050, especially in its overseas territories. France’s vulnerability to the impacts of climate change are twofold: an increase in temperature increasing the risk of heat waves, and more intense rainfall increasing the risk of flooding, rising sea levels, and a potential increase in the frequency and severity of storms.

With regards to temperature increases, France’s temperature has increased by 1.9°C since 1900, which exceeds the global average for warming and has increased the frequency and intensity of heat waves since the 1950s beyond just the traditional summer period. Increased temperatures vary by region, with more pronounced warming in Eastern France and in the Alps and Pyrenees.  With regards to changes in precipitation, variability in precipitation is becoming more pronounced with more intense episodes of heavy rainfall combined with more frequent and widespread droughts, especially throughout the Mediterranean region. France’s overseas territories are also strongly impacted by the increasing frequency and severity of tropical cyclones and storms. In 2021 and 2022, Martinique and Reunion Island experienced significant storm damage to their electricity networks and power lines.

Rising temperatures and changes in precipitation will impact France’s economic and social infrastructure in a multitude of ways. A deficit of water resources across the industry, agriculture, and drinking water supply will require better management of consumption. Natural hazards such as floods, coastal hazards, clay shrinkage and swelling, and gravitational hazards such as avalanches, mudslides, and rockfalls will cause not only loss of life but high localized costs associated with housing destruction. Biodiversity is particularly sensitive to changes in temperature and precipitation and the loss of ecosystem services associated with biodiversity loss will incur significant and compound economic losses. Heat waves and flooding will also have health impacts such as loss of life, decreased quality of life, psychological stress, and bodily harm. The French government estimated that “the value lost by our society because of the 2003 heatwave as being a little more than EUR 500 million based on an average loss of one year of lifespan.” After the flooding of Gard in 2002, the “cost of taking care of people presenting psychological disorders has been estimated at approximately EUR 234,000 (for 953 people).”


France’s plan of action to combat these climate impacts is called The National Climate Change Adaptation Plan established in 2006. This plan aims to protect the French population from extreme weather events and build climate resilience throughout the main sectors of the economy such as agriculture, industry, and tourism. The second phase of the French National Adaptation for Climate Change (PNACC-2) runs from 2018 through 2022 while phase one (PNACC-1) covered the period 2011-2015. PNACC-2 focuses on six areas of intervention – governance (1), knowledge and information (2), prevention and resilience (3), economic sectors (4), nature and environment (5), and international action (6) and was developed based on a national consultation of over 300 representatives from civil society, experts and representatives of local authorities and ministries. While PNACC-1 was criticized for its inconsistent application across sectors and areas of intervention, a full analysis of PNACC-2 will merit the same discussion once it concludes at the end of this year.


Learn More

Antoine Bonduelle May 2014 – Le Conseil Économique Social Et …

“Global Stocktake.”,,Decision%2019%2FCMA.

Holz, Christian, Tom Athanasiou and Sivan Kartha (2022) France’s Climate Fair. Climate Equity Reference Project Working Paper Series WP007. Version 1. Zenodo. [doi: 10.5281/zenodo.2595502]

Iea. “France Climate Resilience Policy Indicator – Analysis.” IEA,

“Managing Climate Risks, Facing up to Losses and Damages: En.” OECD,

“World Bank Climate Change Knowledge Portal.” Summary | Climate Change Knowledge Portal,

Rapportonerc traductionv3 En – Ecologie.

This Post was submitted by Climate Scorecard France Country Manager Liana Mehring

Paris was flooded with extremely high water on 3 June 2016 in Paris, France. Image credit: Ekaterina Pokrovsky/Shutterstock.


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