From international leadership at COP21 to a comprehensive low-carbon transition


France has been recognised as a leader in international climate politics after the success of COP21. The French contribution has been essential to build a solid Paris Agreement.

The three-year mobilization around climate change prior to the Agreement also led to significant changes in domestic policies. The adoption of the French Energy Transition Law constitutes an important step forward. It provides a new framework for climate and energy policies in France, which now needs to be implemented.

The buildings, transport and agriculture sectors are the main drivers of emissions in France. Therefore, France provides the context for innovative approaches in these areas, such as carbon pricing in non-industrial sectors, which was successfully implemented in 2015. Recent debate on the energy mix also demonstrates the willingness to give a greater share to renewables, and to accelerate electricity use in the transport sector.


Implementation of ambitious objectives requires the consolidation of commitments. At the domestic level, energy efficiency is the number one challenge for France in order to meet and overachieve the emission reduction objectives. Innovation in transport, agriculture and industry are also needed to ensure a smooth low-carbon transition, and to realise the opportunities offered by the transition for a better growth, jobs and competitiveness.

This will require robust choices in budgetary policies, and an ongoing commitment to building consensus through multi-stakeholder consultation such as le grenelle de l’environnement (2008), or the French national debate on energy (2013). Social acceptance and economic impact management are key to ensure implementation of the transition.

At the international level, France needs to continue to demonstrate leadership in various forums, such as in the G7, G20 and UNFCCC processes as well as in discussions at European level, for example concerning the implementation of the 2030 objectives.


In close cooperation with various NGOs, think tanks, industry and academics, the ECF works to contribute to the domestic transition and to support French engagement in international forums. Areas of focus include: The acceleration of building retrofitting – one of the top priorities to meet energy efficiency goals; carbon pricing, by reforming the Emissions Trading System as well as domestic tax policies; and a strong implementation of the Paris Agreement.

For more information, please contact: …