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The French government has unveiled an ambitious plan to accelerate greenhouse gas emissions reductions, calling for a 50 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 compared to 1990 levels.

The roadmap, unveiled by Prime Minister Elizabeth Bourne, includes detailed cut figures for individual sectors of the economy, from transport to households.

The goals – from accelerating the transition to electric cars or switching freight from road to water – aim to bring France’s ambitions to cut carbon pollution in line with the EU’s 2030 target.

France has so far reduced its emissions by 25 percent compared to 1990 levels, requiring significant new efforts to meet the new 50 percent target.

President Emmanuel Macron’s centrist government is wary of teasing consumers with expensive initiatives, with memories fresh of fuel tax hikes and car emissions curbs in 2018 that sparked nationwide protests.

The so-called “yellow vest” uprising against Macron began in small and medium-sized cities and rural areas, where locals felt they were being punished for using cars when other modes of transport were not available.

“We’re asking a little bit from the smallest (polluters) and a lot from the biggest ones,” a Bourne aide told reporters, meaning about half the effort would go to companies, a quarter to households and a quarter to local governments.

Concerns about climate change have jumped up the political agenda in the past 12 months, with the country enduring its hottest year on record last year, which has left rivers dry, crops withered and widespread water shortages.

A record nationwide winter drought in January and February also raised concerns about water supplies this summer.

Macron and climate change

Macron, who admitted he was a late bloomer to the scale of the planet’s environmental problems, has pledged to make climate change central to his second presidential term, which begins in May 2022.

He promised to make France the first major country to ditch fossil fuels and gave Bourne an additional post to plan the environmental transition.

But the 45-year-old former investment banker wastatoeba en He has been derided by environmental groups and Green lawmakers for moving too slowly, and he has drawn criticism from 11 by calling for a “pause” in EU environmental legislation.

Waving banners and chanting slogans including “pay, pay” and “now or never”, the young protesters used the last Friday of the Cop27 summit to demand funding for the loss and damage to vulnerable countries. © Amanda Moreau/RFI

Among other developed countries, the United Kingdom has set the most ambitious short-term targets of any major economy, aiming to cut emissions by 68 percent below 1990 levels by 2030.

The United States has pledged to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 50 to 52 percent by 2030 from 2005 levels, while Germany has set a goal of a 65 percent reduction from 1990 levels.

The UN’s climate science panel said the world needs to cut emissions by 43 percent this decade to keep the Paris Agreement’s global warming limit of 1.5 degrees.

(with news)