France vows to halve energy consumption by 2050

  • 23/07/2015
France's President Francois Hollande (Reuters)
France's President Francois Hollande (Reuters)

French politicians are set to adopt a new law that will halve the country's energy consumption by 2050 and slash its reliance on nuclear energy.

Under the new law which is to be put to a final vote in the National Assembly later on Wednesday, nuclear energy will provide only 50 percent of France's electricity by 2025, down from 75 percent currently.

Six months ahead of the global climate conference in Paris, the legislation also calls for a 30 percent drop in the use of fossil fuels by 2030 (compared with 2012 levels), and 40 percent drop in greenhouse gas emissions, compared with 1990.

Renewable energy will increasingly take up the slack - accounting for 32 percent of France's energy mix by 2030, compared with 13.7 percent three years ago.

In a bid to meet the tough new targets, parliament must produce "carbon budgets" every five years, setting emission limits for each sector of the economy.

Polluters will also face major hikes in the "carbon tax", first introduced last year, which will go up in stages from 22 euros per tonne of CO2 in 2016 to 100 euros in 2030.

Slashing the use of nuclear energy was a key campaign promise of President Francois Hollande ahead of the 2012 election.

"The extravagant use of nuclear energy is over," said Green MP Denis Baupin. "Now we must organise an orderly transition."

France is the most nuclear-dependent country in the world, and the second-biggest producer of nuclear energy with 58 reactors located in 19 power stations.

"It's a long-awaited change, since no one, including the opposition, at any time denied the need to break the total dependence on nuclear," said Socialist MP Francois Brottes who headed the parliamentary group reviewing the law.