The High Council invites France to review its policy against climate change


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The High Council for the climate calls France to review its action.

Designed on the model of the British council installed for 10 years, the HCC was set up in late November in full crisis of 'yellow vests'. (Photo: AFP)

Paris: "Ambitious objectives" but "insufficient actions", "too weak devices" ... the High Council for the climate (HCC), set up by Emmanuel Macron, invites France to review its policy against climate change. "The actions taken remain insufficient, while all climate policies should now be strengthened," notes this independent body in its first report, published Tuesday in the heat of a heat wave that should be repeated with the ongoing disruption.

This diagnosis of about fifty pages, entitled "Acting in line with ambitions", was handed over Tuesday evening to Prime Minister Edouard Philippe. The government has six months to respond to Parliament.

The HCC, composed of eleven recognized experts, welcomes the decision of the country to include in the law a goal of carbon neutrality in 2050 (implying that France does not emit more greenhouse gases than its "wells" - soils, forests ... - cannot absorb them).

But "at the current rate, the commitments of France are unlikely to be required," said its president, the climatologist Corinne Le Quere.

"As long as action in response to climate change remains on the periphery of public policies, France will have no chance of achieving carbon neutrality by 2050. For this to happen, measures to reduce emissions must become a national priority. , at the heart of the decisions of the public and private actors ", underlines the scientist, co-author of three reports of the Giec.

Over the past four years, France has not met its emission reduction targets, and if 2018 has been better, weather conditions have largely contributed the report notes. In particular, transport (31% of emissions): demand grows, electrification is late ... But also buildings (19 per cent of the total), a subject currently at the heart of lively discussions in Parliament on treatment to be reserved for "energy strainers".

For the High Council, structural reforms are needed to put the climate "at the heart of public action". For example, enact short-term emissions reduction targets in the law, to burn them and send a signal to all actors.

That every major project is compatible with the goal of carbon neutrality, that the impact of laws is evaluated: "Who can tell us the impact on emissions of the law on mobility (LOM), or the law Egalim?" , says Ms Le Quéré.

The report goes back to the need to take back and evolve the carbon tax, spark of the anger of the "yellow vests", towards more transparency, equity. And "as pending its freeze creates a vacuum, the government should strengthen other instruments," notes the climatologist, including standards or remove fossil fuel subsidies, which have doubled in 10 years.

"It's good to have the goal of carbon neutrality, which is fundamentally lacking is how we go," says Laurence Tubiana, another member of the HCC. In a statement Tuesday evening, Prime Minister Edouard Philippe, while repeating that the fight against climate change is "a priority of the government", recognizes that the action must "be amplified with regard to urgency".

Recalling that Ms Le Queré will be hearing at the beginning of July at the next Ecological Defense Council, he assures that the government "will present on this occasion the first responses and the follow-up it intends to give to the recommendations of the High Council, some of which will be taken into account.

Designed on the model of the British council installed for 10 years, the HCC was set up in late November in full crisis of "yellow vests". Its purpose is to provide a scientific perspective on public action in the long term.

He wished to publish this 1st report as of June "to influence the decisions of the autumn", had previously said Mrs Quéré: budget, possible announcements before the COP of the UN ...It also comes out before the "convention citizen" provided by the government (150 people drawn lots to make proposals on the ecological transition).

"Citizens must be aware of the latest analysis," says Le Quéré. Laurence Tubiana sees hope. "On difficult subjects, it is good that there is a real debate, the citizens' assembly can help to unlock things."