In a Nutshell

  • France has started considering the role of CDR for its long-term climate neutrality goal of going climate neutral in 2050, looking primarily at land-based CDR methods, while also assuming the reliance on bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS), and the saturation of biogenic land-carbon sinks in the long run. 
  • With its Label bas-carbone, France has furthermore established a certification framework relevant to a range of carbon removal methods. 
  • France is revising its Energy and Climate Strategy, including the new Loi de programmation sur l’énergie et le climat, which will define the objectives and the priority actions for the national energy policy for the next five years.
  • France has the capacity and capacilities to deploy carbon removal, as studied by Carbon Gap, E-Cube and RMI in this recent report: Potentiel de la France à déployer l’élimination du dioxyde de carbone – Carbon Gap

Role for carbon removal in national climate policy

The National Low Carbon Strategy (Stratégie Nationale Bas-Carbone) specifically states that achieving carbon neutrality requires compensating emissions with carbon sinks such as human-managed ecosystems (forests and farmland), products and materials from the bioeconomy based on plant matter (wood and straw), and industrial processes (carbon capture and storage (CCS) and carbon capture and utilisation (CCU)). 

 

The LULUCF sector plays a central role in France’s carbon removal considerations (focused on forests and agriculture-related sinks mostly). Bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) was explicitly mentioned in the second iteration of the Low Carbon Strategy, though no deployment incentives are in place yet. In the third iteration of the Low Carbon Strategy, mentions of BECCS have been removed. 

Support for R&D and Innovation

Several projects currently explore geological storage of CO2, among them project Pycasso in the southwest of France, project CO2-Dissolved, and project PilotSTRATEGY, focused on carbon storage in strategic territories (industrial regions).  

 

Support for industry focuses on CCS. For example, project “3D” in Dunkirk, part of the Horizon Europe research program, aims to demonstrate an innovative process for capturing CO2 from industrial activities, and the new decarbonisation strategy aims to halve the emissions of 50 industrial sites that are among the 120 biggest carbon emitters in France over the next ten years. A CCUS strategy has recently been submitted for public consultation. 

 

Label bas-carbone can incentivise ecosystem-based CDR (enhancing natural sinks). CDR methods such as biochar and enhanced weathering could potentially benefit from these incentives, but the certification methods are yet to be developed (the structure of the Label bas-carbone allows for the onboarding of new certification methods on a rolling basis). 

 

Further funding is provided via the “France 2030” Strategy. As part of this plan, EUR 3 billion will be made available to decarbonise industry with CCS and for deeptech/frontier startups. CDR can fit the description of the technological innovation the Strategy is aiming at, but it is not explicitly targeted.  

On the horizon

France is engaged in a revision of its blueprint climate and energy laws, which will be gathered under the revised Energy and Climate Strategy (Stratégie française sur l’énergie et le climat, SFEC). 

 

The first piece of this roadmap is the new loi de programmation sur l’énergie et le climat, which will define the objectives and priority actions for the national energy policy in response to the ecological and climate emergency. LPEC is currently under development and is expected to be passed before the end of 2023 and is set to be revised every 5 years thereafter. (The initial proposal should have been published by July 1, 2023, but should now be presented to Parliament in Q3 2023).

 

The LPEC will be followed by a new iteration of the Stratégie Nationale Bas-Carbone (SNBC3), as well as the next multiannual energy framework (PPE3, 3rd iteration for 2024-2033) which will set out the energy policy management tools, and the revised Climate Change Adaptation Policy (Politique nationale d’adaptation au changement climatique, PNACC3, 3rd iteration). These three legislative initiatives will provide technical roadmaps to implement the SFEC and the LPEC. 

 

Another development of potential relevance to CDR is a legislative proposal aimed at supporting decarbonisation technologies backed by the Minister of Finance (Projet de loi Industrie Verte), which provides a broad range of the technologies recognised. 

Contributors

Targets

  1. Net zero target: 2050
  2. Net Negative Target:

    No

  3. First interim target: 2030
  4. Type of interim target: Emissions reduction target
  5. GHGs covered: Carbon dioxide and other GHGs
  6. Separate target for emission reduction and removals: Yes
  7. Comprehensive CDR Target: no
  8. CDR Target for Conventional Removals: yes
  9. CDR Target for Novel Removals: no
  10. Historical emissions: No
  11. Annual reporting mechanism: Annual reporting

CDR Plans

  1. Plans for carbon removal (CDR): Yes (unspecified)
  2. Planning to use external carbon credits: No
  3. Conditions on use of carbon credits:

Key stakeholders

  • Direction générale de l’énergie et du climat (DGEC): Government agency under the Ministry of Ecological Transition and Territorial Cohesion and the Ministry of Energy Transition in charge of energy and climate policies, main body behind the National Low Carbon Strategy. 
  • ADEME (National Agency for the Ecological Transition) advises the French government on environmental and climate matters. 
  • High Council for Climate (Haut conseil pour le climat), public body under the supervision of the Ministry of Ecological Transition and Territorial Cohesion, the Ministry of Energy Transition and the Ministry of Higher Education and Research, offers advice and recommendations to the French government regarding climate change mitigation. 

Research Institutions