France to cut fossil fuels by 30% by 2030: Hollande

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A partially coal-fired thermical power station in Gardanne, southern France, pictured on November 17, 2011. France will reduce use of fossil fuels by 30 percent by 2030 as part of a strategy to halve overall energy use by 2050, President Francois Hollande has announced. © AFP/File Gerard Julien
A partially coal-fired thermical power station in Gardanne, southern France, pictured on November 17, 2011. France will reduce use of fossil fuels by 30 percent by 2030 as part of a strategy to halve overall energy use by 2050, President Francois Hollande has announced.
© AFP/File Gerard Julien

PARIS (AFP) – (AFP) – France will reduce use of fossil fuels by 30 percent by 2030 as part of a strategy to halve overall energy use by 2050, President Francois Hollande announced on Friday.

“Fossil fuels still account for more than 70 percent of our overall energy use,” Hollande Hollande said, as he unveiled a two-day conference on the environment in Paris.

“Therefore I propose that we set a goal of reducing consumption of fossil energy by 30 percent by 2030.”

He added: “We can make savings of 20 to 50 billion (euros, or $27 to 67 billion) in our energy bill by 2030.”

Hollande said that easing dependence on imported fossil fuels was a core element of a plan “to reduce our overall energy consumption by 50 percent by 2050.”

But, he said in reference to the 2050 target, “let’s not be dogmatic about this — if we are little bit off the mark, it won’t be disastrous.” Hollande outlined several measures to help reach the goals.

They include “smart, carbon-less” cars, for which measures would be needed to encourage installation of electrical recharging points in French towns and cities, he said.

A quarter of all new cars bought by state organisations would be electric or hybrids, and all cars that the state bought for purely urban use would be electric.

Another proposal will be a reduction from 2014 from 10 percent to five percent in value-added tax (VAT) for work to improve energy efficiency in homes.

There would also be incentives for fuels made from biomass.

A draft law on “energy transition” will be put to parliament in the first half of 2014, he added.

On Thursday, the daily Le Monde reported that France would impose a tax of seven euros ($9.45) per tonne of carbon dioxide (CO2) in 2014, providing revenue of 400 million euros ($550 million).

This would rise to 14.5 euros ($19.5) per tonne of CO2 in 2015, bringing in 2.5 billion euros (3.37 billion), and to 22 euros ($29.7) per tonne in 2016, which would yield an estimated four billion euros ($5.4 billion).

The revenue would be used to finance incentives to encourage energy efficiency and the switch to non-fossil sources, it said.

The governing Socialist Party has been at odds with its partners, the Europe-Ecology-Greens group, over the scale of its commitment to the environment.

The Socialists are being lobbied hard by industry, which says the tax burden is already badly hitting competitiveness.

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