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France joined the Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC) in 2012 and since then has demonstrated continuous commitment to slashing short-lived climate pollutants alongside carbon emissions to flatten the curve of climate change and build a healthier planet.
“Today, we know that by fighting climate change we also improve air quality and the benefit is twofold. That is why we want to mobilize all the tools, all the stakeholders, to greatly reduce emissions of greenhouse gases and atmospheric pollutants together,” said Brune Poirson, the former Secretary of State to the Minister for an Ecological and Inclusive Transition in 2019. “The Climate and Clean Air Coalition is a great example of what we can do together. It allows us to create synergies between countries and between non-state actors to develop concrete solutions, locally or globally, and ultimately accelerate our transition to a low carbon and clean economy.”
Video: The value of being a CCAC partner
During its G7 Presidency in 2019, France highlighted the need to transition the cooling sector because of its rapidly increasing climate impact due to the increasing use of refrigerants including Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). By 2050, the number of air conditioners will increase by 5.6 billion, which means that 10 new units will be sold every second. During the G7 Environment Ministers’ Meeting, France launched the CCAC’s Efficient Cooling Initiative in partnership with Japan, United Nations Environment Programme, Institute for Governance & Sustainable Development, and other countries and partners to catalyse action on the cooling sector. At the G7 Summit, France also launched the Biarritz Pledge, a landmark agreement to undertake ambitious measures to improve energy efficiency in the cooling sector while phasing down HFC refrigerants in line with the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol.
On September 3, 2020, the French Government released “France Relance,” its €100 billion recovery plan to address the economic consequences of COVID-19. The first pillar is a €30 billion green transition which will include investments for energy-efficient renovation programmes for private and social housing and public buildings, for sustainable mobility, for decarbonisation of the industry, and for green technologies including hydrogen, biofuels, and recycling.
Paris is a member of the CCAC-led BreatheLife Campaign, a global clean air initiative working to combat the climate and health effects of air pollution—among them an estimated 7 million premature deaths. The mayor of Paris plans to reduce the number of cars in the city by half, ban diesel vehicles by 2024, and make the capital a more walkable city – whilst also showing city leadership in the fight against climate change. France’s air quality policies are in line with European Union directives. The government also charges taxes for owning a vehicle, with companies paying significantly more than individuals. France also provides one of the highest bonuses in Europe for purchasing a new zero-emission vehicle and an incentive for replacing polluting vehicles. These incentives were enhanced with the support plan to the automotive sector and the French recovery plan.
Major cities including Paris and its suburbs, Lyon, and Grenoble have already implemented low emission zones. In addition to that, the new French mobility orientation law requires low emission zones where air pollution limits are regularly exceeded which will soon lead to similar actions in other cities.
France has made climate finance a priority, with President Emmanuel Macron announcing in 2019 that the country would double its contribution to the Green Climate Fund, stating that "Protecting those most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change is everyone’s responsibility.” In 2018, France provided €5 billion in climate finance to developing countries, mostly through the French Development Agency AFD, and has committed to providing a similar amount each year until 2020.
In 2019, France passed the Law on Energy and Climate to introduce the objective of carbon neutrality by 2050 as part of its commitment to the 2015 Paris Agreement. The National low carbon strategy was updated in 2020 to reflect the objective of carbon neutrality, which requires 2050 emissions to be reduced to 1/6th of 1990 levels. This objective is more ambitious in comparison to the first National low carbon strategy, which aimed at a 75% reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 compared to 1990 levels. The strategy also aims to achieve the national objective of a 40% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 compared to 1990 levels. Recognizing that short-lived climate pollutants are a critical part of this work, the country also committed to ceasing all coal power plant operations by 2022.
Counteracting food waste and loss is also a national priority. In 2020, the Anti-waste law for a circular economy committed the country to halving food waste by 2025 for the retail and catering sectors and by 2030 for the other sectors through a mix of public and private commitments. In this area of combatting short-lived climate pollutants, France is committed to multi-sectoral action with the recognition that no country, branch of government, or area of the economy can act in isolation to successfully achieve climate benefits.
Read below for more highlights of France’s work.