Ecological planning: French President Emmanuel Macron faces the 'challenge of the century'

Emmanuel Macron must present this Monday, September 25 his "ecological planning". After more than a year of consultations, the Prime Minister handed in her copy last week. The French president must therefore make announcements, give a "course" for what he has already described as the "challenge of the century" before the presentation to the Council of Ministers of the draft budget for 2024 next Wednesday. And for civil society in France, expectations are high.

In terms of ecology, the French president must make announcements, give a "course" for what he has already described as "the challenge of the century". © Geert Vanden Wijngaert/AP

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After several postponements, Emmanuel Macron must present this Monday the main axes of "ecological planning" which he intends to make a marker of his five-year term, despite an environmental balance deemed so far insufficient. "I am convinced that we have a path that is that of French ecology", "an ecology of progress", "which is neither denial", "nor the cure that consists in saying 'it's going to be a massacre'", pleaded the head of state Sunday, September 24 during his television interview. It will meet at 15 pm at the Élysée, for the second time, the Ecological Planning Council created after his re-election, with Elisabeth Borne and the ministers concerned.

The France is therefore lagging behind its climate commitments and ecological planning is therefore necessary to catch up in the face of an acceleration in the impacts of climate change. Greenhouse gas emissions are not decreasing fast enough, as Anne Bringault, spokesperson for the Climate Action Network (RAC), which brings together some thirty environmental NGOs, points out. She therefore expects presidential announcements at the height of the stakes: "We have the impression that it is on the spot, we have the impression that Emmanuel Macron is refusing obstacles. Clarification is indeed expected on objectives, course, measures, financing and timetable for implementation.


Profound transformations are needed in all sectors, from transport to industry, from agriculture to our way of life. These transformations will have an impact on the way we will move, on the insulation of housing for example. "It is difficult to initiate this transformation without having someone who shows a vision, who says to the French: 'this is where I want to take you,'" says Anne Bringault. For the spokesperson of the RAC, Emmanuel Macron must wet his shirt and defend this ecological planning.

Staying the course in the face of the influence of lobbies

On Sunday, Emmanuel Macron said France would phase out coal by 2027, converting its last two plants, but he did not set a date for the exit of oil and fossil gas.


It is clear that in France a player like Total, whose main activity is the development of fossil fuels, will not remain inactive if we have a plan that provides for an exit from fossil fuels. So, it is in the face of these lobbies that we will have to be very powerful. And we really hope that he will reassure us by showing that he really wants to be the leader in the fight against climate change in the wake of the Paris Agreement," says Anne Bringault.

Sylvain Boucherand of the Economic, Social and Environmental Committee also participated in the consultations. He welcomes the executive's effort, but remains cautious: "We must be able to follow the progress of the various measures and commitments that are made since, too often, we realize after five or ten years that not much has changed. So that finally, somewhere, we lost that period. And to be effective, this ecological planning will have to involve everyone: local authorities, companies and every French citizen, according to him.

Supporting the poorest households

Faithful to his line of a "non-punitive" ecology, the French president also promised to "accompany the most modest households" in their own ecological transition, and he multiplied the messages to show that he intended to encourage rather than prohibit. He gave up banning gas boilers - after thinking about it - so as not to penalise rural areas. The deployment of heat pumps, on the other hand, will be "accompanied".

As for vehicles, Emmanuel Macron advocated, here too, an "accompaniment" to "push our households to sell old diesels and old thermal vehicles" to go towards "hybrid" and "more and more electric".

The decarbonisation of industry

With its agenda for ecological planning, the executive has several projects, including the decarbonization of industry. And for companies to abandon fossil fuels, the production of green electricity must be accelerated.

In Dunkirk, for example, in northern France, this electrification of industry has already begun. Reducing its CO2 emissions is the objective of Aluminium Dunkerque. And for this company, it means green electricity. "It takes us about 13.5 megawatt hours to generate electricity to produce one tonne of aluminum. This is equivalent to the annual consumption of two households. This makes us the largest consumer of electricity in France," explains Laurent Courtois, Director of Energy and Climate.

To decarbonize Dunkirk's industry, the authorities want to double electricity production by 2035, based on an energy mix. "Here, we are fortunate to have the largest nuclear power plant in Western Europe," says Mathias Povse, regional director of EDF. We are the first wind region in France. And soon, the arrival of two EPR2 nuclear reactors. We will therefore complete to achieve the electricity needed here for decarbonization. The fact of being at the origin of 21% of the CO2 emissions of French industry has made this territory mobilized. It is this territorial collective that has turned this constraint into an opportunity.


If the forecasts come true, the Dunkirk territory should reach carbon neutrality in 2050.

" READ ALSO Environment: humanity is preparing to exceed new "planetary limits"


And with AFP)

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  • Emmanuel Macron
  • French politics
  • Environment
  • Climate
  • Climate change
  • France
  • Elisabeth Borne