Sustainable development: unveiling the Climate Plan and the charter for flexible fuel
On the 13th November 2006, Dominique de Villepin chaired an interministerial Committee on sustainable development. The national strategy for sustainable development is aligned with the European strategy, containing measures broken down into a ten point plan. The Climate Plan is now strengthened. A reduction of 10% for French CO2 emissions is anticipated by 2010.
France is the first country to bring its strategy into line with Europe. In doing so, France has received the support of several other member states. In particular gaining support for the creation of a United Nations Environment Organisation (UNEO) and a “carbon emissions tax” at the borders of Europe.
The environmental taxation incentive
The Government intends to implement taxation reform in order to encourage environmental protection. This reform will be entered into an amended finance bill.
Some incentives: building by observing energy saving criteria. Local authorities could exonerate buildings designed to be energy efficient from anything up to 50% on property tax.
The incentive also provides financial support for the entire “flexible fuel” sector. This will include support for the construction of vehicles as well as the transmission systems.
At the moment, coal powered energy is not specifically targeted, even though it is one of the heaviest pollutants. Hence the Government is preparing to impose a tax on its consumption.
A positive and desirable vision for sustainable development
Citizens should be accepting change and incorporating it into their behaviour. In order to achieve this, the Government is implementing a strategy encompassing education, research and also agriculture. The new measures engage all sectors of public policy.
This is the purpose, for example, of the EEDD (environmental education for sustainable development) part of a United Nations programme piloted by UNESCO. The new curriculum for the 2006/2007 academic year in France will include elements relating to sustainable development.
Furthermore, organic agriculture in France has seen an increase in production from 10 to 16%. In order to further increase production, the government is planning to make organic agriculture exempt from property tax, on lands without buildings for five years. The BIO agency’s exemption is extended for an extra five years.
Climate Plan 2004-2012: buildings and transport a priority
During the interministerial committee, the Government confirmed the Climate Plan for up to and including 2012. So, from 2007, significant renovations in buildings more than 1000m2 should meet minimum energy requirements.
On the transport side, the Government is accelerating the development of bio-fuels. The State, along with social partners and businesses signed the charter for the development of Super Ethanol E85 at the interministerial committee. Super Ethanol E85 is a fuel consisting of a maximum 85% ethanol, of agricultural origin, and the remainder is super unleaded.
This fuel should contribute to the reduction of the State’s energy dependence and to vary its suppliers. The charter also allows consumers to reduce their exposure to volatile petrol prices.