France Cracks Down on Car, Home and Plane Emissions in New Law

France’s Parliament has adopted a law that cracks down on emissions linked to transport, manufacturing and housing as the government seeks to implement new measures to fight global warming.

The Climate and Resilience bill adopted Tuesday is based on proposals of an assembly of 150 randomly picked citizens created by President Emmanuel Macron. Coming ahead of next year’s presidential election, it’s a response to the Yellow Vest movement which, almost three years ago, violently rejected Macron’s push for higher environmental taxes on gasoline and diesel.

The new law, which also foresees stronger sanctions for pollution of soil, air and water, will supplement Macron’s policies that are supporting renewable energies and electric cars, and squeezing out fossil fuels from home heating and electricity generation.

Not Enough

Yet, some opposition parties say the legislation isn’t going far enough. A government advisory council on climate said last month that France should cut pollution faster to meet its 2030 targets. This month, France’s highest administrative court also asked that the government adopt new steps by the end of March to curb emissions. And that was even before the European Union announced its ambitious climate plan to reduce emissions.

One of the most symbolic provision of the new French legislation is a ban on domestic flights when there’s a train alternative of less than 2 1/2 hours, except for a limited number of connections. The ban will actually affect about 2% of domestic flights, Aeroports de Paris Chief Executive Officer Augustin de Romanet said in May.

The bill will also force airlines to compensate emissions for all domestic flights from 2024 by purchasing carbon credits.

The Climate and Resilience bill includes other measures:
  • Ban on advertising for all fossil fuel energies from the second half of 2022.
  • Mandatory creation of low-emission zones in cities of more than 150,000 inhabitants where most polluting cars will be banned by the end of 2024.
  • Ban on advertising of cars that emit more than 123 grams of CO2/km from 2028
  • Ban on sales of cars emitting more than 95 grams of CO2 per kilometer by 2030, with limited exceptions for some professional vehicles
  • Ban on renting badly insulated housing from 2025, with reinforced requirements in 2028 and 2034
  • Retailers will have to dedicate at least 20% of their supermarket space to bulk sale from 2030 to curb packaging
  • Protecting farmland and forests by halving the pace of transformation of theses areas into construction areas during the coming decade
  • Creation of a tax on nitrogen-based fertilizers pending failure to reach targets on related emissions
  • Increased restraint on advertising screens in shop windows
  • Reinforcement of environmental criteria in public procurement

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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