France submits its national greenhouse gas inventory annually to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). This inventory provides detailed information on the emissions of various greenhouse gases to support the monitoring and tracking of France’s progress in meeting its climate commitments. The inventory is a public document made available on the websites of those organizations that support its creation, including the French Ministry of Ecological Transition (MTE), the Centre Interprofessionnel Technique d’Etudes de la Pollution Atmosphérique (CITEPA), and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
France calculates its inventory of greenhouse gas emissions based on national data sources, including energy statistics, industrial emissions reports, agricultural data, and other relevant information. Several organizations are compiling and releasing GHG inventory reports, including the Ministry of Energy Transition (MTE), also known as the Ministry for Ecological Transition, responsible for energy policy, environmental protection, and sustainable development. The first part of the report related to the inventory of GHG emissions is prepared by The Centre Interprofessionnel Technique d’Etudes de la Pollution Atmosphérique (CITEPA), a technical center and non-profit specializing in the study of atmospheric pollution. The second part of the report, containing additional information required under the Kyoto Protocol, includes inputs from Groupe Caisse de dépôts, a French public financial institution whose mission is to serve the public interest and contribute to the economic development of France. The report includes the following list of official contributors from across the participating organizations: Jean-Marc ANDRE, Stéphanie BARRAULT, Romain BORT, Ludivine COZETTE, Benjamin CUNIASSE, Ariane DRUART, Anaïs DURAND, Etienne FEUTREN, Lisa GRELLIER, Valérie IMAD, Coralie JEANNOT, Rania KAMAR, Bernardo MARTINS, Etienne MATHIAS, Vincent MAZIN, Adrien MERCIER, Sophie MOUKHTAR, Colas ROBERT, Mickaël SAUBION, Natalia SIRINA-LEBOINE, Felipe TRONCOSO-LAMAISON, Corentin VANCAYSEELE, Thamara VIEIRADA ROCHA, and Julien VINCENT.
The report is compiled using data collected from statistical agencies, research centers, technical centers, professional organizations, literature reviews, and expert input to provide information on emissions, energy consumption, industrial production, agricultural activities, and socio-economic data. The report uses estimation methods tested and approved by CITEPA. Previous inventories’ estimates are reviewed and corrected to incorporate updated statistics, improved knowledge, changes in methodology, and guidelines defined by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The report also includes an uncertainty assessment to list and acknowledge uncertainties based on current knowledge. A notable change in the latest inventory mentions the transition from using the Global Warming Potentials (GWPs) of the IPCC’s AR4 to the GWPs of the IPCC AR5.
The latest French GHG inventory report is dated March 2023. The substances covered are the direct greenhouse gases comprising the “Kyoto Protocol basket”: carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), the two species of halogenous substances, hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), and perfluorocarbons (PFCs), sulfur hexafluoride (SF6) and nitrogen trifluoride (NF3). Emissions of sulfur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen oxides (NOx), non-methane volatile organic compounds (NMVOCs), and carbon monoxide (CO) are also included. The scope of the inventory relates to the geographical perimeter of France and French Overseas territories belonging to the European Union. The national emissions of greenhouse gases in France, excluding land use, land-use change, and forestry (LULUCF) contribution, decreased by 23% in 2021 compared to 1990. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, emissions were significantly decreased in 2020. In 2021, emissions increased by 5.7% compared to 2020 but remained lower than pre-pandemic levels. The trends vary for different gases, with CO2 emissions being 21% lower in 2021 compared to 1990, while CH4 and N2O emissions decreased by 22% and 49%, respectively. There was a significant increase in hydrofluorocarbon emissions (+752%), but when considering the molecules’ Global Warming Potential (GWP), the increase was 134%. PFC, SF6, and NF3 emissions decreased by 92%, 76%, and 25% in CO2 equivalent from 1990 to 2021.
The energy sector is the most critical emitting source in 2021 France regarding the UNFCCC source categories with 70% of the CO2e national emissions without considering LULUCF contribution. Agriculture, industrial processes, and waste sectors represent 16.0%, 10.0%, and 4.4% of the national GHG emissions, respectively. Since 1990, the waste and agriculture sectors’ relative contributions have slightly increased; meanwhile, the contribution of energy is relatively stable, and industrial processes have decreased.
Key trends between 1990 and 2021 include:
– a considerable reduction in N2O emissions in the chemical industry (-98%) and, to a lesser extent, from agricultural soils (-17%),
– a fall in CH4 fugitive emissions as a result of the closure of coal mines (-99.8%),
– the decline in the use of PFCs (-92% in CO2e) in favour of HFC and the significant increase in emissions of these compounds (+134% in CO2e).
-Between 1990 and 2020, a downward trend in mass emissions of the four gases that indirectly contribute to the greenhouse effect: -92% for sulphur dioxide, -71% for carbon monoxide, -64% for nitrogen oxides, and -43% for non-methane volatile organic compounds.
France’s GHG inventory deserves a B rating for producing comprehensive, useful reports no more than one year old. The report is especially laudable for revising estimates provided in the previous inventories that have been reviewed and corrected to account for updated statistics, improved knowledge, and possible changes in methodology and specifications contained in the guidelines.
This Post was submitted by Climate Scorecard France Country Manager Liana Mehring
Unfccc.Int, unfccc.int/documents/627737. Accessed 28 Sept. 2023.
GAVEL, Antoine. “CCNUCC (NIR).” Citepa, 22 June 2023, www.citepa.org/fr/ccnucc/.
“Ministère de La Transition Écologique et de La Cohésion Des Territoires – Ministère de La Transition Énergétique.” Ministry of Ecological Transition, www.ecologie.gouv.fr/en. Accessed 28 Sept. 2023.