Ecological planning measures decided, realistic objectives?

Emmanuel Macron is due to speak to present the ecological planning action plan this Monday, September 25.

Ecological planning measures decided, realistic objectives?

Emmanuel Macron is due to speak to present the ecological planning action plan this Monday, September 25. Will the measures achieve the greenhouse gas reduction target?

Expected for more than a year, ecological planning will (finally) be revealed. Emmanuel Macron must speak in the afternoon of this Monday, September 25 to specify the main axes of the policy which should make it possible to achieve the objective set by the Paris agreements: reducing gas emissions by 55%. greenhouse effect by 2030.

After several missed opportunities to move forward on ecological planning, although presented as a priority for the five-year term, the Head of State himself takes up the subject and continues to adopt an optimistic tone. “I am convinced that we have a path which is that of French ecology”, assured Emmanuel Macron on the 20 Hours of TF1 and France 2, on September 24, promising: “An ecology of progress which is not neither denial, nor the cure which consists of saying 'it's going to be a massacre'". But the government still has to convince, given that the environmental record of the last six years is rarely considered satisfactory.

After a year of work and announcements distilled and refined, what should we expect from the announcement of the ecological planning plan? A priori a summary of the reflections of the council of experts of the General Secretariat for Ecological Planning (SGPE), attached to Elisabeth Borne. The Prime Minister is normally personally responsible for carrying out the project. But will these measures and the planned deadlines be respected? And how will ecological planning be financed? If Emmanuel Macron indicated that "40 billion euros" must be invested in ecological planning in 2024, not all of them will come out of the state's pockets. The subject will be debated during the examination of the finance bill in Parliament scheduled for the end of September.

The plan designed by the General Secretariat for Ecological Planning is based on six areas of work: transport, housing, ecosystem development, electricity production, agriculture and consumption.

The primary objective of ecological planning being to reduce CO2 emissions by 55% by 2030, and by 80% by 2050, the most obvious measures consist of "organizing the gradual end of fossil fuels, leading cause of climate change", underlined the Elysée. A progressive but announced definitive reduction in the consumption of oil, gas or coal in all possible areas, whether in industries, the agri-food sector or in private homes is therefore expected.

With ecological planning, the government wishes to continue and extend thermal renovations of housing, a project started with the launch of the MaPrimeRénov' system in July 2022. This financial assistance is one of the main levers for acting on greenhouse gas emissions. greenhouse in homes considered as thermal sieves. The budget of this structure should be doubled according to the promise made by Elisabeth Borne in Le Parisien. According to the SGPE, the number of renovations slightly exceeds 500,000 this year and must reach the target of 2.5 million in 2030.

Problem: hiccups have multiplied for the system and the rights defender, Claire Hédon, published a report in 2022 on the dysfunctions of this aid. Thousands of households have highlighted significant payment delays from the State and the 100% digital platform has suffered a series of computer bugs.

In addition to the subject of thermal strainers, we must also tackle highly polluting heating methods. The government wants to divide by three the number of homes heated with oil and considerably reduce those equipped with gas boilers, which will not, however, be banned as previously envisaged by the government. At the same time, the executive wants to encourage the installation of heat pumps that are significantly less polluting than other heating systems.

Transport is another lever for acting on CO2 emissions and if the government wants to reduce the number of thermal cars on the roads, it nevertheless says it does not want to penalize “heavy rollers” or “car lovers”. On the other hand, he wants to encourage road users to use carpooling: the objective is to reach 3 million daily carpooling trips in 2027. An ambitious goal since only 900,000 are counted in 2023, but difficult to achieve because apart from aid of 100 euros granted to new carpoolers, no incentive measures have been thought of. The possible increase is therefore mainly due to the desire of the French to adopt this mode of transport.

It is therefore not the end of the car, but the time has come to replace thermal cars with electric vehicles. Either by purchasing with the production of one million electric cars in France by 2027 and the increase in the ecological bonus offered upon acquisition, or by leasing with the promise of electric cars at 100 euros per month which could be clarified. Finally, the emphasis is placed on soft transport with the construction of 150,000 kilometers of cycle paths by 2030 and the establishment of metropolitan RERs in 12 French cities.

Production is one of the main sources of pollution. The government therefore wants to accentuate the shift towards renewable energies to replace fossils such as oil and coal. A change which involves investment in solar energy and onshore and maritime wind power, or even the conversion of the two remaining coal-fired power plants to biomass by 2027. But it is mainly on nuclear that the government with the relaunch of nuclear power announced by Emmanuel Macron during his speech in Belfort in 2022.

The change also applies to agricultural production which must become cleaner and more sustainable. Ecological planning provides for a 10% increase in organic cultivable area and an increase in production to be more independent as well as to limit highly polluting imports. It is also the way of producing and breeding that must become more sustainable with fewer pesticides, among other things. By acting on food production, the executive also wants to change diets to also make them more sustainable thanks to more reasoned consumption of more local and seasonal products.

But these projects resulting from ecological planning plans are difficult to impose in the face of the action of certain ministries such as that of Agriculture, whose minister, Marc Fesneau, declared this summer that France "rather has temperatures which are quite normal for one summer". Very surprising comments given the comments from Météo France which classified this same summer as the fourth hottest since 1900...

Financing this ecological planning seems difficult to establish. According to Franceinfo, Elisabeth Borne had promised the mobilization of 60 billion euros. However, only seven will be hired by the state. Nearly €53 billion is therefore missing at this stage. The government would rely on the commitment of local authorities and the Caisse des Dépôts to achieve the promised budget. Réseau Action Climat, an environmental association, feared that this funding “could fall on the most precarious or mean a reduction in funding for other essential areas of State action”.