In a report, made public on October 6, the High Council for the Climate delivers a more precise vision of France's carbon dioxide emissions.
The total balance amounts to some 749 million equivalent tons of carbon dioxide (CO2eq to take into account other greenhouse gases) for the year 2018. This represents 11.5 tons per capita, of which 6.7 tons for territorial emissions.
Almost 47% are linked to imports of goods and services (10% from the European Union and 37% outside old Europe, in particular from Asia for electronic products, refined petroleum products, metals and particularly agrifood products).
Figures to be taken with caution, due to the lack of recent statistics on imported emissions, warns the High Council.
The reduction of these greenhouse gases produced abroad for goods and services imported into the metropolis
"depends both on France and on partner countries"
, recalls Corinne Le Quéré, president of this body set up. in November 2018 by Emmanuel Macron to guide the government's climate policy.
However, only a third of importing countries have targets for reducing their greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. By this time, France will have to be carbon neutral.
The country's total emissions will therefore have to be very exactly offset by carbon “sinks” (forest, land rehabilitation, lakes, sea, innovative technical processes for CO2 capture, etc.).
Four ways to reduce emissions by 80% by 2050
The High Council for the Climate proposes 4 avenues to reduce the total carbon footprint by nearly 80% by 2050, the objective it has set itself under the Paris Agreement.
This would require a 65% reduction in imported emissions and a 91% reduction in domestic emissions.
The first avenue is to adapt industrial strategies in order to weigh somewhat on imported emissions.
“more than three-quarters of imported emissions are linked to the decisions of French actors, companies and households,”
said Corinne Le Quéré.
One way to do this is to calculate a
for each product, ie the total emissions balance of a good for its entire life cycle.
The report explains that it is necessary to
"adapt industrial strategies in France to limit imported emissions associated with supply chains and increase the sustainability of products"
Households should then be better informed about the “carbon score” of products.
Because according to a study by Ademe, the ecological transition agency,
"86% of households are sensitive to it,"
says the president of the High Council.
They could therefore direct their purchases towards the least polluting goods.
The third lever should be sought within the European Union, in order to
"promote measures to reduce imported emissions and an assessment of trade policies on the carbon footprint"
This would include creating a kind of carbon tax at the borders of the Old Continent, if this measure is technically possible.
In addition, it would be necessary to
“assess the impact of existing and future trade agreements on imported emissions”
Finally, the last lever would be to weigh on
"France's international cooperation towards strengthening commitments under the Paris agreement"
on the climate.
One way would be to speed up the establishment of
"a national strategy to combat imported deforestation"
and to establish
But turning all these proposals into concrete action will not be easy ...