The timing is far from trivial. The High Council for the Climate (HCC) unveils its opinion on the climate and resilience bill on Tuesday, two weeks after its presentation to the Council of Ministers and a few days before the start of parliamentary discussions. Ignored by the government on this text, the independent body is therefore self-imposed. Crowned with a certain neutrality, this opinion once again reminds us that the text, resulting from the work of the Citizen’s Convention for the Climate (CCC), is not up to the challenges. Decryption.
1. Missed opportunities
The climate and resilience law will be, except surprise, the last opportunity of the five-year term to achieve the objectives that it has set itself. Namely a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions of 40% in 2030 compared to those of 1990, as part of the national low carbon strategy (SNBC). It is already established that this text will not make it possible to achieve this – it is the government itself which says it – but the HCC regrets a lack of global ambition. For its president Corinne Le Quéré, “The law is useful, it helps to move forward, but the missed opportunities to step up the pace are numerous”. Especially since France has already fallen behind, that this law will not fill. “The current decade is crucial to achieve structural changes compatible with climate objectives”, adds Corinne Le Quéré. However, points out the report, many measures “ provide for extended implementation deadlines ”. This is the case, among others, of the taxation of nitrogenous fertilizers, an important lever for reducing emissions associated with the agricultural sector. It is only scheduled for 2025 and conditional on the failure of incentives. Other articles are downright or almost useless, even if the HCC uses more civilized terms. “For example, article 4 aimed at regulating advertising only concerns fossil fuels and no longer largely a set of goods and services clearly incompatible with the transition, such as heavy and poorly aerodynamic vehicles (SUVs, etc.). ) or certain food products’, is it written.
2. A flawed assessment
The HCC also looked into the impact study associated with the bill. Not to propose a counter-study, but to judge its quality. In December 2019, he published a special report on the assessment of laws with regard to the climate in order, precisely, to guide governments in this type of exercise. While progress has been made, “It is regrettable, however, that the assessment of the overall impact of the bill was not made explicit”. Indeed, the executive remains very vague, arguing that its text will secure “Reaching between half and two thirds of the way to go” between 2019 and the emission level target set for 2030. Out of the 69 measures, only 21 have been subject to a detailed quantification of the reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, beyond the problems of method and of “Certain inconsistencies in the assessments carried out”. The HCC therefore recommends that the government produce a new study once the law is enacted.
3. Fundamental work to continue
This new impact study will also make it possible to measure the relevance of the work carried out by parliamentarians, while the climate and resilience bill arrives at the National Assembly on March 8 and promises heated debates. The HCC calls for each amendment proposal to be studied on the basis of its quantifiable impact on the SNBC. Mostly, “The government and the Parliament must broaden measures having a broader or structuring potential so that they relate to significant volumes of emissions”. Clearly, we will have to strengthen certain articles, the effectiveness of which is called into question as it is. In particular those concerning the building sector. But we should not hope to see some CCC proposals rejected by the government make their return to the text. Deputy Laurence Maillart-Méhaignerie (LaREM), president of the special committee responsible for examining the bill, warned: these amendments will be considered as “Inadmissible”.