Scrapping old cars and boilers: Hulot’s first measures for decarbonising France

Replacing old fuel boilers is part of Hulot's measures for decarbonisation. [Shutterstock]

The French minister for ecological transition and solidarity fleshes out four measures of his climate plan. EURACTIV’s partner Journal de l’Environnement reports.

In an interview with French newspaper Libération, Francois Hullot unveils details of the four measures aimed at achieving carbon neutrality by 2050.

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Conversion premium

The first one is an old classic: taking old dirty cars off the road. Rebranded “conversion premium”, the measure will allow the French to replace an old car with a low-emission one (new or second-hand) and benefit from a premium of €1,000 (€500 today).

Premium extension

The real innovation is that the first measure is extended to all, whereas until now it was exclusively for low-income households. For people below the tax threshold, the premium will be doubled. Finally, if the new vehicle is electric, the premium will be €2,500 – and it will be possible to combine it with the €6,000 ecological bonus for electric cars.

A poor deterrent

The bonus/malus scheme for car purchases is the third car-related measure. The threshold for applying the malus will be lowered to 120g of CO2/km,  that is 7g less than today. In the future, this will be lowered to 95g, although it is not known when.

Owners of highly polluting vehicles will pay a higher tax of CO2/km amounting to €10,500 (+€500) – not a strong deterrent, considering that sports and luxury cars are priced in the tens and hundreds of thousands. Hulot’s bonus/malus scheme will be limited to carbon emissions. Compared to the first two, the third measure will only indirectly impact air quality.

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French Ecology Minister Nicolas Hulot proposed on Wednesday (6 September) a bill to end the modest production of hydrocarbons in France, hoping to lead by example. EURACTIV’s partner Ouest France reports.

Energy cheque

Created by the law on energy transition, the energy cheque only touched four French regions. It will now be extended, allowing 4 million low-income households to receive a contribution of € 48 to €277 towards their energy bills.

As promised by Hulot, the tax credit for energy transition (CITE) will take the form of a bonus, to be paid “once the works have been done”. On energy efficiency energy savings certificates could be obtained by households that replace their old fuel boilers with a sustainable heating system, or heat pumps.

It is not certain that these measures will lead us to carbon neutrality – not even in 2050.

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