1 – What is “ecological planning”?
During his 2022 electoral campaign, candidate Macron borrowed from his rival Jean-Luc Mélenchon the commitment to carrying out a form of “ecological planning”. The goal: enable France to keep its promise to reduce its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 55% by 2030 (compared to 1990). In the summer of 2022, a general secretariat for ecological planning, reporting to the Prime Minister, was established. A year later, he delivered a roadmap which sets out the contribution of each sector of activity (industry, transport, agriculture, etc.) to achieve the national objective. At the end of an ecological planning council meeting on September 25 bringing together all the ministers concerned, the President presented his political vision of this vast project.
2 – What is the government’s strategy?
- For Emmanuel Macron, faced with strong expectations on purchasing power, ecology must first “create economic value”.
- It must also be “carrier of innovation and factor of competitiveness, and allow France to regain its sovereigntyé”. For example, the State wants to promote the production of batteries for electric cars in Hauts-de-France.
- The plan also aims to tripling of national production of heat pumps by 2027.
- He also chooses tofinancially support 50 industrial sites (metallurgy, chemistry, etc.) to follow their ecological transition commitments over the long term.
- And promises to decarbonize aviation by the (distant) horizon of 2050.
This essentially technological response to the ecological challenge does not propose to initiate a profound change in consumption and production patterns. The necessary shift towards more sustainable food and agriculture (second GHG emitting sector in France), mentioned in this plan, is almost devoid of concrete means. For his part, climatologist Jean Jouzel regretted that the move to 110 km/h on motorways, financially painless and very effective in reducing the impact of cars, was not announced.
3 – Means, are you there?
Forty billion euros of public investments for the ecological transition are provided for in the 2024 finance bill, or seven billion more than last year.
The financial effort is particularly visible in the housing renovation sector, the envelope of which increases by 1.6 billion (+66% compared to last year). The objective is to improve support for owners by increasing the number of France Rénov’ advice centers and increasing aid with a view to tripling overall renovations in 2024.
Another measure concerning individuals: the introduction of leasing (long-term rental with option to purchase) of electric cars for around 100 euros per month, intended for low-income households. Added to other measures such as a new ecological bonus on new vehicles, the greening of the automobile fleet should represent an investment of 1.5 billion in 2024.
But what will it be by 2030? Will the effort be sustained over time? “A multi-year financial trajectory must accompany planning,” explains Anne Bringault of the Climate Action Network. “This would facilitate both private investments by providing visibility, and secure public funding over time.”
4 – Who will pay?
This 2024 budget dedicated to ecological planning is entirelyt financed by the savings made with the end of the price shield on gas and electricity (10 billion euros).
What about the next few years? Commissioned by the Prime Minister, the report by Jean Pisani-Ferry and Selma Mahfouz on “the economic impacts of climate action” underlined the urgency of investing massively in the ecological transition and of using a ” dedicated levy” based on the financial assets of the wealthiest households (whose lifestyle emits the highest GHG emissions). Idea rejected by the government…
Another possibility: apply the polluter pays principle. The Climate Action Network is calling in particular for an end to the tax exemptions enjoyed by aviation: untaxed kerosene, reduced VAT on tickets. “That’s at least seven billion euros in shortfall each year for the State,” explains Anne Bringault. The government preferred a tax on motorway concessions and large airports (revenue of 600 million euros expected in 2024). A very small step which does not resolve the persistent unfair competition between planes and trains. The latter allows us to go much faster… on the ecological transition.