Low Carbon Society getting everyone on board

Updated 06/25/2018

Although the fact that major international commitments are made at government level, it is now up to all parties - consumers, businesses, local authorities - to implement the strategies that will help meet these objectives. 

The French National Low-Carbon Strategy, established in 2015 and currently undergoing a revision, has set a global objective of 75% reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2050 compared with 1990. The presentation of the Climate Action Plan in July 2017 has underlined the government’s willingness to tackle climate change and decarbonise all industries which contribute to these emissions: 70% are linked to energy use, 17% come from agriculture, 10% from industrial processes and solvents and 3% from waste. Beyond the measures introduced and without the compliance of all organisations, it will be difficult to follow the trajectory set out by the Paris Agreement in 2015.

Uneven progress

Industries have already sharply reduced their greenhouse gas emissions following the deindustrialization of a large part of the country on the one hand, and the need to reduce costs on the other.
However, the building sector has distinctly fallen short of emissions targets. Even though a number of devices and strategies are in place to help tackle this problem, such as energy savings certificates, the number of renovations carried out every year is still far below the target of 500,000 housing units per year. “The evolution of tax credit, ahead of construction works, should boost the renovation market”, tells us Hervé Lefebvre, Head of the Climate Department at ADEME.
In terms of agriculture, change is still to be expected when it comes to methods of production, as well as consumer habits. Finally, in the transport sector, the largest emitter of GHG, certain changes should be implemented: on a societal level, with the development of alternative means of transport, and on a technological level, with the development of less polluting fuels and vehicles...
So many paradigm shifts that it will likely take a long time to unfold. In order for us to move in the right direction, it is thus crucial to encourage each key actor to work on these issues.

Tools for a climate strategy

For nearly fifteen years, ADEME has been developing methodological tools to help organisations assess their GHG emissions and put in place low carbon strategies adapted to their specificities. “The aim is to enable them to realise that solutions do exist in order to reduce their GHG emissions, without having any negative impact on their activity.
In fact, they will benefit from this,” underlines Hervé Lefebvre. “Anyway, low carbon is becoming standard and will create value.” Coming from the Bilan Carbone® methodology developed by ADEME in 2006, the GHG Assessment (Bilan GES) is one of the founding tools of the low carbon field. A bit like a photograph, it reveals the posts that emit the most GHG in both businesses and regions: not only in terms of direct emissions, essentially energy consumption, but also indirect emissions, by far the most important, linked to the actual operation of the organisation. By the end of 2017, over 1,500 GHG assessments had been carried out.
Once this first step is achieved, action plans need to be developed. The QuantiGES method enables to quantify, in a global and concrete way, the impact of the measures proposed: before or after their implementation, in order to draw up assessments and communication strategies.
The latest of the ADEME tools, piloted in 2016 in partnership with the NGO CDP, then tried out in 2017 with small and medium-sized businesses, the ACT method goes one step further. “This time, the aim is to assess the maturity of organisations in terms of the requirements of the Paris Agreement, their position on the 2 ℃ trajectory, their way of preparing for a decarbonised future,” explains Édouard Fourdrin, Climate Department Engineer at ADEME.
A third phase of development of this tool should start in 2018, following a call for applications, with a larger number of businesses.