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01 December 2014

Environmental Conference: 2015 will be “climatic”


While the international climate conference (COP20) was launched this week in Lima, France just completed its 3rd Environmental Conference. Beyond the will, clearly stated by the President of the Republic and the government, to obtain a “historic agreement” in Paris in 2015, what does this mean for the next COP21?

There was apparently a clear consensus on the fact that the two-day Environmental Conference held in France was the kickoff of the national contribution to the COP21, which will take place next year in Paris. While the global climate situation is still critical, the political context should be today a little more favorable to the negotiations initiated in Lima, and the ones to come during the COP21 in December 2015. As a matter of fact, the adoption of the Climate and Energy Package for 2030 by the European Council, on one hand, and the recent agreement between China and the USA, on the other hand, can be seen as two positive signs of a new awareness, on the urgency to fight global climate change.

France is part of Europe

François Hollande wants to reach a binding agreement next year in Paris. Segolene Royal said that she wants to make France a “major ecological power” and defined the fight against climate change as “a national priority” for 2015. Of course, we agree with these statements. Firstly, because if an agreement was found at the COP21, this would undoubtedly be a diplomatic success, benefiting to the country hosting the event. Then, because our country is, indeed, one of the best students in Europe from a climatic point of view. Without being arrogant, we can legitimately be proud of our good carbon footprint. But, if France can carry strong messages on energy and climate, it cannot carry them alone; France is part of the European Union, and it’s the latter that will be under the spotlight at the next COP21, side by side with other big powers as the USA, China and the others BRICS…This is even without mentioning the poorest countries, which will necessarily be short of resources to cope with high ambitions, when their first concerns, are mainly of vital order.

And Europe is part of the rest of the world

Yet Europe, although it managed to adopt a more pragmatic and consistent Climate and Energy Package for 2030, faces a major problem: its energy dependence, which has increased from 43 to 53% during the last ten years, with an even greater dependence rate of 85% for oil! This situation creates two types of risks: one geopolitical and the other economical, due to the increase of costs slowing down our economies, already sluggish.
This dependence is clearly linked to the existing modes of transport; this is why we urgently need, for climate matters but also for energy and economy matters, to build a European-Wide strategy for the transports decarbonization. Furthermore, the reduction of our oil consumption would be fully consistent with our recently adopted target: 40% of CO2 emission reduction by 2030. Finally, the carbon price is also at the core the issue: without strong and stable CO2 price, there will never be a real shift towards low-carbon industrial technologies. If Europe is not able to solve this problem, it could be harder to present itself as a model for the rest of the world, at the next COP21…

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The Union of the French Electricity Industry is the trade association of the French electricity sector. We bring together companies from the whole value chain of the electricity industry.

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