ADEME wished to bring to the debate four consistent and contrasting reference pathways to take France to carbon neutrality.
Forecast for mainland France, the scenarios are based on the same macroeconomic, demographic and climate change data (+2.1 °C in 2100). They all lead to carbon neutrality for the country, but take different routes and correspond to different societal choices.

Frugal generation

Significant changes in the way we travel, heat ourselves, eat, buy and use equipment will occur to achieve carbon neutrality without involving carbon capture and sequestration technologies, which are unproven and uncertain on a large scale.

The transition is mainly driven by frugal use of resources due to active constraints and consumer self-restraint or energy sufficiency. New consumer expectations, but above all new practices, are expressed rapidly in consumption patterns. Growth in energy demand that depletes resources and degrades the environment is halted, due to behavioural, organisational and technological innovations.


meat consumption reduced

30 %

reduction in the average surface area of new houses

70 %

of steel, aluminium, glass, paper, cardboard and plastic sourced from recycled materials

Regional cooperation

Society is transformed within the framework of shared governance and regional cooperation. Non-governmental organisations, public institutions, the private sector and civil society find pragmatic ways to cooperate to maintain the social fabric.

To achieve carbon neutrality, society relies on a progressive but steady change of the economic system towards a sustainable path combining energy sufficiency and efficiency. Consumption of goods becomes measured and responsible, sharing becomes widespread.

Changes in society’s values provide for massive investment in efficiency and renewable energy.


reduction in meat consumption

– 17%

fewer miles travelled per person

80 %

of steel, aluminium, glass, paper, cardboard and plastic sourced from recycled materials

Green technologies

Technological development provides more of the answers to environmental challenges than changes towards more moderate consumption patterns or energy sufficiency. Metropolitan areas are growing. Digital technology, which enables energy or material efficiency, is used in all sectors. The best technologies are deployed widely and are widely accessible to the part of the population that can afford it.

The ways of living, traveling and working are very similar to those of today but are becoming more sufficient.


reduction in meat consumption

86 %

reduction in GHG emissions in industry

60 %

of steel, aluminium, glass, paper, cardboard and plastic sourced from recycled materials

Restoration gamble

Global ecological issues are perceived as a quid pro quo for economic and technological progress: society places its trust in its ability to manage and even repair social and ecological systems with more material and financial resources to maintain a liveable world.

Lifestyles of the early 21st century are safeguarded. But the abundance of goods consumes a great deal of energy and materials with a potentially high environmental impact.


reduction in meat consumption

19 %

less energy consumption by industry

45 %

of steel, aluminium, glass, paper, cardboard and plastic sourced from recycled materials

Overview of the 4 scenarios

The 4 scenarios at a glance
Webinars and sectoral results presentation

Webinars organized in February 2022 presented the assumptions and sectoral results of the four carbon neutrality scenarios and provided an opportunity to discuss them. Building, air conditioning, industry…

Discover all our sectoral webinars (in French)