April 14. 2024. 7:34

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France saw 8.5% drop in CO2 last year, not enough to meet EU goals

France recorded a drop in carbon emissions in 2021-2022 that was in line with national targets but not EU ones, according to provisional figures from the French carbon agency Citepa.

“The results are there. Our emissions have fallen by 8.5% in the last quarter of 2022,” Energy Transition Minister Agnès Pannier-Runacher said on Monday (3 April).

According to Citepa, the body responsible for reporting French carbon emissions, France’s carbon emissions fell sharply for the last three months of the year.

Without considering carbon embodied in imported products, which accounts for about half of France’s total emissions, the country’s domestic greenhouse gas emissions for the year were down by about 2.5% compared to 2021.

2021 saw a rebound in emissions of 6.4% compared to 2020 when the coronavirus pandemic brought the economy to a standstill, leading to a 9.4% drop.

Now in line with the national strategy

France is now in line with the targets defined in its National Low-Carbon Strategy, which was loosened in 2020 compared to what the government had initially decided in 2015.

Before it was reviewed, the target was set for emissions not to exceed 399 million tonnes of carbon dioxide per year. After the review, the maximum was raised to 422 million.

This means that the 408 million tonnes of carbon emissions recorded in 2022 by Citepa are only meeting the target set in the national strategy because the revised targets gave industry more leeway to pollute.

Ultimately, the French emitted 25% less greenhouse gases than in 1990.

But while it may seem like an achievement, this is below the rate needed to reach the EU’s target of reducing emissions 55% below 1990 levels by 2030, according to the French High Council on Climate.

According to to the country’s climate advisors, there needs to be “an unprecedented acceleration of emissions reductions in all sectors” in order to reach the objectives of the Paris Agreement.

France ahead of targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions

A French centre on air pollution recently published its latest estimates on France’s greenhouse gas emissions, and the Ministry of Energy Transition is pleased with it: -9.6% between 2017 and 2021.