Three-quarters of the country burdened by exceptionally dry soils, agricultural yields plummeting by 10% to 30%, hydroelectricity production 20% lower, a “natural disasters” invoice nearly 3 billion euros for insurers, 72,000 hectares gone up in smoke, more than 2,800 additional deaths…
In its fifth annual report published this Wednesday evening, the High Council for the Climate (HCC) has chosen to recount the ravages of last summer from the very first pages. Because if he was out of the norm, the summer of 2022 is likely to become an ordinary summer in 2040 warns the body set up by Emmanuel Macron in 2018 to scrutinize the government’s climate strategy.
However, France, although more exposed to the consequences of global warming than the average, “is not ready to face it, as 2022 has demonstrated”, alerted the president of the HCC, Corinne Le Quéré during the presentation of this 200-page document, which includes more than a hundred recommendations, submitted to the executive a few days before the long-awaited announcements on the outline of ecological planning .
Despite an exceptional commitment of resources, “crisis prevention and management systems have not made it possible to avoid all the consequences of the events” of last year, underlines the climatologist. This year “emblematic of the intensification of the effects of climate change” blatantly illustrates the need “to act urgently”, urges the HCC.
But today, “adaptation is largely done in a reactive mode, which is not enough to prevent future impacts”, points out Corinne Le Quéré, who warns: “it is likely that the balance of the system of insurance in France, in its current configuration, is not sustainable given the increase in claims over the decades”.
Adaptation must “change scale”, she says, and become “transformative” based on scientific knowledge of impacts for years to come. The reference framework announced by the government to adapt according to a trajectory at +4°C is a good first step, estimates the HCC.
Reduction of greenhouse gases
In this context, the rapid decline in greenhouse gas emissions is “more essential than ever” to contain the escalation of risks, according to the HCC. In 2022, emissions fell a further 2.7% compared to 2021 (excluding carbon sinks). The efforts are there, but the pace remains insufficient: to achieve the objectives set for 2030, it must “almost double”, warns the High Council for the climate.
For now, alone the building sector sees its greenhouse gases decrease sufficiently (-17% in 2022). According to the effort-sharing scenario between sectors that will be determined by the government, the HCC estimates that the rate of reduction in emissions will have to be multiplied by a factor of 3.5 to 5 to transportation and energy, 1.25 to 3.5 for agriculture, 1.4 to 1.6 for industry and 1.6 to 1.9 for waste.
Despite a host of measures in these sectors, blockages persist, observes the independent body which judges, for example, the decarbonization strategy of the “fragmented” individual car.
“Not yet on the run”
In the meantime, the HCC welcomes the establishment of the General Secretariat for Ecological Planning in 2022 which “marks an important step” and must “further gain strength”. Its experts note that the action framework for public climate policies is being built, even if the “coherence” needs to be improved. And plead for a “rise in power” of France’s response to climate change.
“A lot has happened since last year,” agrees, however, the president of the High Council, who called in her previous report for a “jump” in climate action. “We have gone beyond the policy of small steps but we are not yet at a run! »
It remains, according to the HCC, for France to “transform” its economic policy, “including budgetary, fiscal, commercial, industrial, and employment”, knowing that it must make it possible to identify the way in which the public expenditure necessary for the transition to reach, specifies the report, “about 30 billion additional euros in 2030”.