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Paris set to miss COP21 commitments

Climate & Environment

Paris set to miss COP21 commitments

At its current rate, Paris will miss its 2020 climate targets by a significant margin.

[Moyan Brenn/Flickr]

The French capital cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 9.2% between 2004 and 2014. But this is not enough to reach its 25% target by 2020. EurActiv’s partner Journal de l’Environnement reports.

Paris must make more of an effort to cut emissions. According to a study published on 13 July, based on the calculation method used by the French Environment and Energy Management Agency (ADEME), the French capital emitted 25.6 million tonnes of CO2 in 2014. This is just 9.2% less than in 2004.

This effort would see the COP 21 host miss its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction target of 25% by 2020, fixed in December 2012 by the Climate Energy plan.

One surprising fact to emerge from the study is that one-third of all Parisian GHG emissions come from air travel for business and air freight, while tourist flights are excluded from the calculation.

Goods transport and buildings out in front

The emissions reduction of 9.2% compared to 2004 has largely been achieved by cuts to goods transport emissions (-18%) and building emissions (-15%), through extensive efficiency renovation of the city’s social housing stock.

Emissions from transport in central Paris fell by 39% over the ten-year period, thanks largely to the development of the tram system and the Vélib’ bike rental service.

Energy consumption down slightly

Between 2004 and 2014, the French capital reduced its energy consumption by just 7%, to 31,500 gigawatt hours, again, well off course for its 25% objective for 2020.

Industry accounts for just 5% of emissions from energy consumption in the capital, with the remainder shared between the services sector (51%) and residential consumption (44%). Electricity is the leading energy source, ahead of natural gas and geothermal, which grew steadily over the ten-year period.

In 2014, 15.6% of the energy consumed by the capital came from renewable or recovered sources, up just five percentage points from 2004.

Bad example from the administration

The Parisian administration is far from setting a shining example on GHG emissions. The city’s authorities only managed to cut their carbon footprint by 2% over the decade studied. The city authorities put this poor performance down to an increase in the number of canteen meals it served each year (up by seven million). But without the Climat Energie plan, the city administration’s emissions would have grown by 17%, according to their own projections.

More food, less waste

Emissions from the food chain increased by 10%, while those related to waste fell by 13% between 2004 and 2014. This is due to a slight reduction in household waste. At just 15% in 2014, the recycling rate has stayed low.

“While I am delighted at the progress we have already made in reducing the city’s ecological footprint, I am conscious that we will have to accelerate our work rate in order to meet our COP 21 objectives. This will be addressed in the post-2020 Climate Energy plan, which we will begin this autumn,” said Célia Blauel, the deputy mayor in charge of the regional Climate Energy plan. She sees this as a golden opportunity to push for faster change.