The decline is somewhat more pronounced than expected. Greenhouse gas emissions fell by 2.7% in France last year, according to new provisional figures released on Monday. "After a massive decrease in 2020 versus 2019 (-9.0%) and a partial rebound in 2021 versus 2020 (+5.7%), CO2e emissions started to decline again in 2022 versus 2021 (-2.7%)," said Citepa, the organization mandated to carry out the French inventory of emissions.
"The pre-estimated level for the year 2022, excluding carbon sinks, amounts to 403.8 Mt CO2e" (million tonnes of CO2 equivalent), he explains. A first estimate at the beginning of April showed a slightly less pronounced decline of 2.5% last year to 408 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent. The figures published on Monday are still "pre-estimated" and Citepa must complete them at the end of June.
The overall downward trend masks significant disparities across sectors. It is mainly attributable to the buildings sector (-14.7%) "with a decrease in the consumption of fossils for heating", reflecting the policy of sobriety put in place following the invasion of Ukraine, rising prices and a mild winter. Manufacturing (-6.4%), which burns gas for its plants, is also participating in the trend.
Energy and transport continue to rebound
On the other hand, emissions from the energy industry increased in 2022 (+4.9%) "in a context of unavailability of nuclear power plants", partly offset by a sharp increase in the use of gas-fired and occasionally coal-fired power plants. Transport emissions (+2.3%) continued to rebound since the hole of the Covid-19 pandemic.
"In 2022, despite the energy crisis, we managed to accelerate the pace of reducing our greenhouse gas emissions, and to do better than what we had committed to," said Energy Transition Minister Agnès Pannier-Runacher. Citepa notes that "for the moment, over the period 2019-2022, the average emissions are estimated at 410 Mt CO2", i.e. below the threshold set by the national low-carbon strategy (SNBC) which provides for 422 MtCO2e per year on average between 2019 and 2023.
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Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne recently unveiled a new trajectory to reach 270 million tonnes of C02 equivalent in 2030. The France aims to reduce its emissions by 50% in 2030 compared to 1990 levels, in line with European commitments, which means reducing them twice as fast as today.