INDEPENDENT NEWS

Cablegate: France Seeks to Reduce Ghg Emissions by a 'Factor

Published: Mon 23 Oct 2006 03:12 PM
VZCZCXRO7434
PP RUEHHM RUEHLN RUEHMA RUEHPB
DE RUEHFR #6968/01 2961512
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 231512Z OCT 06
FM AMEMBASSY PARIS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 2435
INFO RHEHAAA/WHITE HOUSE WASHDC
RHEBAAA/USDOE WASHDC
RUEHRC/USDA FAS WASHDC
RUEAEPA/EPA WASHDC
RUEHZN/EST COLLECTIVE
RUCNMEU/EU INTEREST COLLECTIVE
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 PARIS 006968
SIPDIS
SIPDIS
STATE FOR G, OES, OES/GC, EUR, EUR/WE;
WHITE HOUSE FOR CEQ;
DOE FOR INTERNATIONAL MARLAY, USEU FOR SMITHAM; EPA FOR
INTL AYRES; USDOC FOR NOAA
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: SENV FR
SUBJECT: FRANCE SEEKS TO REDUCE GHG EMISSIONS BY A 'FACTOR
OF 4'
1. On October 9, Ecology and Industry Ministers, Nelly
Olin and Francois Loos, jointly presented at a 'Factor 4'
Conference the final report of the Working Group on
'Achieving a four-fold reduction in GHG emissions in France
by 2050.' Written under the supervision of the French
Council of Economic Analysis, the study included
recommendations for more stringent regulations regarding
emissions of GHG gases and improvement of incentives to
prevent such emissions. The F-4 authors acknowledge that
their target of a four fold reduction in GHG's by 2050 is
ambitious. In their words it is, "Feasible yes, easy no."
-------
Context
-------
2. In France, President Chirac and former PM Raffarin
first raised F-4 in February 2003 at the 20th plenary
session of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
(IPCC) in Paris. France's objective, based on the findings
of the third IPCC assessment report, is to stabilize
atmospheric CO2 concentrations from rising above 450 ppm,
with a goal of limiting the global warming to a further 2
degrees Celsius. (According to some climate experts cited
in France, this means that worldwide GHG emissions must be
halved by 2050.) "By virtue of the principle of shared but
differentiated responsibility," the GOF established its own
target of a four fold reduction in national GHG emissions
by 2050. In July 2005, France passed this F4 objective
into law.
3. Also in 2005, the GOF appointed an "F4 working group"
of 31 members including representatives of French
ministries, companies, and company associations (EDF, GDF,
Total, Areva, Enterprises for the Environment, Chamber of
Agriculture), public/international organizations (Academy
of Technology, IEA, ADEME, Meteo-France), research sector
(CNRS, IDDRI), unions, local authorities, NGOs (WWF,
Greenpeace France, Reseau Action Climat). The group was
tasked to review (already existing) long-term energy
scenarios and to make recommendations to the GOF to help
France achieve its F4 objective.
---------------------
Conference highlights
---------------------
4. The F4 group consensus at the October 9 conference was
that the trend in energy policy is NOT acceptable.
The group acknowledged a high degree of uncertainty concerning
the future, the shortcomings of long-term scenarios, and the
lack of precision as to the effects of technical advances and rate
of dissemination of new technologies; hence, the need to
proceed with "utmost modesty." The speakers, nevertheless,
underscored a number of key elements that should be given
immediate consideration:
-- GDP should not be constrained in the medium and long-
term, but growth should be better managed to reduce its GHG
component; the development of long-term strategies based on
strong voluntary action is critical.
-- Energy efficiency is "the absolute priority" as it is
thoroughly coherent with the three criteria for a
satisfactory energy policy (it is good for economic growth,
involves limited costs, and energy efficiency technologies
and materials already exist and could be implemented
rapidly). Standardization at the European level is a must
and energy inefficient products should be removed from the
marketplace.
-- Energy accounts for around 70% of GHG emissions and
should therefore represent some 70% of the Factor 4
solution. Nuclear energy represents 6% of global energy in
Europe and 2% worldwide. Although some 80% of French
electricity is generated by nuclear power plants, nuclear
accounts for only 17% of France's total (all sources) energy
production. Given these percentages, focusing the debate
on nuclear energy in order to build up a climate strategy
does not seem justified." In France, the areas that need urgent
attention are existing buildings, transport, and the
PARIS 00006968 002 OF 003
development of combined heat and power technology in
industry.
-- A large number of countries will continue using coal
(e.g., China, India, U.S., Russia, and Indonesia). Cost-
effective CO2 storage and sequestration is one of the most
critical problems in the coming years.
-- Technological advancement in the transport sector is an
absolute necessity.
-- Renewable energies (wind, solar) cannot solve the
Problem; biomass potential is superior to wind and solar.
-- Existing tax incentives are not efficient. The GOF must
become more regulatory and reflect this new approach in the
Revised National Climate Plan which will soon be released.
-- Research alone is insufficient.
-- Behavior patterns, particularly consumption, are key
factors.
------------------
29 Recommendations
------------------
5. The report includes 29 recommendations intended to
cover every sector of activity: transport, construction,
industry, agriculture, and energy production; all economic
actors: the State, local authorities, businesses and
citizens in general; and all public policy tools, including
research, regulations, financial and tax incentives
(positive or negative), communication (education and
awareness), and information (e.g. systematic labeling).
The F4 group listed its recommendations under three main
categories.
6. Strategic recommendations include the need to:
-- Define objectives for gradual and realistic GHG
reductions matching the rate of investment renewal and new
technology development. Objectives need to be established
10-20 years in advance to give business enough leeway to
plan for low-emission investments. Improve the efficiency
of the Emissions Trading System (e.g., broadening its scope,
lengthening quota allocation periods).
-- Establish an intermediate target (-25% of -30% compared
to 2005 by 2020-2025) in liaison with socio-economic
actors.
-- Design and implement a "National F4 Pact" to be
integrated at the European level.
7. Public policies will be needed to assure consistency
between projects from public financial agencies and French
climate change policy (e.g. introduce parliamentary
oversight for COFACE projects; clarify GOF position vis-a-
vis the World Bank and regional development banks). A
European strategy should be adopted for a long-term
investment plan for purchases of emission quotas after
2012, without waiting for the introduction of institutional
arrangements still under international negotiations whose
outcome is uncertain. The report further notes that "this
would also place the EU in an innovative position with
regard to international climate change activities."
8. Yet other recommendations for sectoral change include
detailed actions that each sector should implement. For
example, in the transportation sector, the authors of the
report recommend a focus on mass transportation, to reduce
maximum authorized speeds to 120 km/hour instead of 130 km
on motorways as a start (which would reportedly immediately
save 2 million tons of CO2/year), to legalize urban tolls,
to make road tax compulsory for freight transports, and to
tax aviation fuel. In the agricultural sector, the report
advocates large-scale use of biomass resources for energy
recovery and production of chemicals or materials in order
to substitute fossil energy by 2020. It further recommends
long-term R investments in biomass.
PARIS 00006968 003 OF 003
9. Other recommendations are intended to raise awareness
and foster action to improve energy consumption behavior.
Finally, there are recommendations dealing with fiscal
measures and regulations aiming to establish minimum
efficiency standards for each family of electrically-
powered appliances and systems.
10. Comment: The French F 4 program is an
ambitious one as well as very much a work in progress.
An environmental report released the week of
October 16 lamented that French personal comportment with
regard to energy consumption in the vehicular and housing sectors
has changed but little despite intense discussion of the climate
problem in recent years. The F4 program also hardly
constitutes a strategic plan; it is more of a vision. Suggestions
for tightening regulations are not likely to go any where in
this election season in France and may be untenable at any time.
Changing French habits will certainly not come easy. End
Comment.
STAPLETON
View as: DESKTOP | MOBILE © Scoop Media