French climate watchdog castigates local climate draft bill

On the 02/23/21 at 8:15AM


Adrien Paredes-Vanheule

The French High Council on Climate (HCC) on Tuesday has given its view on the climate draft bill proposed by the government. The law is expected to improve ways to drive the energy transition and to reduce high-carbon emitting practices locally through 69 measures.

HCC independently issues advice and recommendations to the government on implementation of measures and polices to reduce France’s greenhouse gas emissions. It also publishes annual reports on France's greenhouse gas emissions and on whether it is on track to meet its emissions reduction targets. 

French MPs will start to examine the Climat et Résilience draft bill as from 8 March. In HCC’s view, the measures it contains would form “an important part of the effort to be made” for France to achieve its goals in fighting greenhouse gas emissions. However, the council said the measures “would not enable France to catch up in the low-carbon transition.” It added that the draft bill includes several measures to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions, most of which, quantified by an impact study, will “have a limited potential effect on the level of GHG emissions, either because of their limited scope of application or because of longer deadlines set for implementation.” HCC pinpointed that these deadlines “are clearly incompatible with the expected pace of action against climate change and France's efforts to catch up on its carbon budgets.” Besides, the draft law is lacking of a strategic vision on the decarbonisation of the different sectors issuing CO2 emissions, it said.

Impacts regarding economic policy missing

HCC also analysed the impact study released with the draft law and looking at contributions of the bill's articles to the French national low-carbon strategy, which encompasses 45 strategic orientations. The body regrets the “lack of clarity and coherence” of the impact study in regard to the orientations of the French national low-carbon strategy. It said “the study does not enable to determine how the draft bill precisely falls within France’s low-carbon transition strategy.” HCC assessed.

Among others, the study does not address at all four of the five orientations regarding economic policies, set in the French national low-carbon strategy, of which are of interest for the investment industry. These are “sending right signals to investors, especially regarding carbon pricing, and giving them necessary visibility on climate policies”; “ensuring fair transition for all”; “supporting international and European initiatives regarding carbon financing and pricing that are coherent with the Paris Agreement targets”; “favouring investments in low-carbon transition projects.”

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