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The greater use of fossil fuels to compensate for the difficulties of the nuclear fleet and a resumption of transport prevents France from reducing its greenhouse gas emissions.
No improvement in the carbon footprint in France. The country is currently struggling to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions because of greater use of fossil fuels to compensate for the difficulties of the nuclear fleet, but also of transport.
Over the first nine months of the year, these emissions responsible for global warming practically stagnated (-0.3%) compared to the same period of 2021, according to provisional data from Citepa, the body mandated to carry out the French inventory. shows.
A trend far from the decline necessary for the country to remain in the nails of its commitments.
“There is no miracle”
“These figures therefore worry us but we expected it, there is no miracle”, reacts Jérémie Suissa, general delegate of the NGO Our affair with all, who condemned the State for climate inaction the a last.
“We have not done what was necessary to reduce emissions at all,” he believes, regretting the absence of an ambitious policy in terms of public transport or renewable energies.
In detail, emissions have notably increased by 12% over the nine months in energy production, according to Citepa. “This is explained in particular by the shutdown of many nuclear reactors in 2022 which has led to the use of thermal power plants”, he notes.
France has in fact been confronted with the unavailability of part of its nuclear fleet due in particular to problems of micro-cracks. To compensate for this lack, the country has never consumed so much gas for its electricity production as this year.
Due to the energy crisis, also caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the government has also given up on closing the coal-fired power station in Saint-Avold (Moselle) this winter.
The Citepa also points to a 4% increase in transport emissions, with a jagged evolution depending on the month. “We are going back to the mode of operation before the Covid crisis in the transport sector, which continues to trend upwards and for the moment we do not see any real structural change”, remarks Michel Colombier, member of the Haut Climate Council (HCC).
These trends are clearly out of step with the reduction necessary for France to meet its objective of achieving carbon neutrality by 2050.
It is committed to reducing its emissions by 40% by 2030, an ambition that must be reinforced to take into account the new European objectives (-55%). According to the HCC, the country should double the rate of decline in its emissions to around -4.7% per year over the period 2022-2030.
Michel Colombier, however, calls for sorting out the economic data – with the corrosion problems of nuclear reactors – and the underlying trends. “We cannot draw conclusions from this stagnation about our ability to achieve the objectives,” he said.
A “fragile” nuclear fleet
However, he points to major challenges in the fields of transport and energy. In the latter, there is “urgency that we develop renewables because we have a nuclear fleet which is fragile, on which we are hyper dependent” and which could still reserve bad “surprises”, remarks- he.
Emissions are all the more scrutinized as justice had, in 2021, given until December 31 to the State to act more decisively on the climate plan, in a dispute brought before the Paris administrative court by NGOs. gathered under the banner “the Affair of the century”.
NGOs now say they are ready to go back to court in 2023 to seek financial sanctions again, believing that the state has not done enough. “The next step is to ask for penalties for a real application by the State of the judge’s decision”, underlines Jérémie Suissa.
“The government is committed to keeping its climate commitments”, assures the Ministry of Energy Transition, is putting in place a series of measures in favor of energy renovation, sobriety, cycling, carpooling, or again the next ban on the rental of thermal colanders…