The French Recovery Plan Is Good, But Remains Insufficient

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Originally published on Transport & Environment

Paris, France, by Cynthia Shahan/CleanTechnica

The stimulus package announced yesterday shows that France has understood the urgent need to invest in a decarbonized economy. But the European environmental NGO Transport and Environment points out that this two-year recovery plan remains insufficient to meet the transport decarbonization targets set out in the National Low Carbon Strategy. It regrets, among other things, that this plan does not commit itself more to electric cars and vans.

Eleven billion euros will be invested by France in the decarbonization of the transport sector by 2022. The development of rail transport, with an investment of 4.7 billion euros, is excellent news. It is also encouraging to see that in the city, a serious boost will be given to active mobility and public transport.

But the electrification targets for road transport remain insufficient for France to meet its climate commitments. The government is promising 1.9 million euros to green the car fleet, but the existing eligibility criteria are too lax and allow the purchase of polluting vehicles such as SUVs. While it is pleased that a premium is being introduced for the purchase of electric or hydrogen trucks, the NGO is concerned that the premium for the conversion of vans is mainly used to support the purchase of diesel vehicles.

Diane Strauss, Director of the France Office of Transport and Environment said: 

“Transportation is the main source of CO2 emissions in France. However, we see that 90% of the vehicles purchased since the May recovery plan are thermal vehicles, which will remain in use for the next fifteen years. The purchase of diesel and gasoline vehicles must stop being subsidized.”

The plan proposes 7 billion euros by 2030 for the development of hydrogen, a technology that would decarbonize industry, aviation and the maritime sector, but will only play a marginal role for road transport. It insists that hydrogen produced for transport must come from renewable energy sources.

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