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Greenhouse gas emissions


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France is required to reduce its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 55% by 2030 compared to 1990 levels, in accordance with the latest European directives. Additionally, carbon neutrality must be achieved by 2050. The -55% target for 2030 is a result of the -40% target being raised when the European climate law was adopted in the summer of 2021. Currently, French legislation has not been updated to reflect the -55% target, and existing regulations are based on the -40% target for 2030. The five-year Energy and Climate Programming Law (LPEC) is expected to be implemented in 2024 to support these targets.

In order to achieve the long-term greenhouse gas emission reduction targets, France has set carbon budgets for three successive five-year periods through the National Low Carbon Strategy (SNBC). The latest SNBC (SNBC2) was adopted in 2020, which sets the carbon budgets for the periods 2019-2023, 2024-2028, and 2029-2033. As the SNBC2 was designed prior to the increase in ambitions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from 40% to 55% in 2022, the carbon budgets will need to be readjusted in the upcoming SNBC (SNBC3), which is expected to be adopted in 2024.

Carbon budgets require that average emissions during the specified period do not exceed the allocated budget. Additionally, annual and sectoral budgets are provided for informational purposes only and are not binding. It is possible for lower emissions in one sector to compensate for higher emissions in another sector. This also applies to emissions between years within a five-year period.

For the 2019-2023 period, France is projected to meet its carbon budget (421 MtCO2e), with approximately 404 MtCO2e emitted in 2022 according to CITEPA data. The transport sector (with 130 MtCO2e emitted in 2022) and the waste sector (15 MtCO2e) appear to exceed the indicative budget allocated, while all other sectors are performing better than expected. These years were marked by global crises that significantly impacted energy consumption and production patterns. It is important to exercise caution when interpreting these figures due to the exceptional circumstances of the years 2020, 2021, and 2022. The confirmation of the downward trend will have to wait until the release of the 2023 data.