A board of 150 citizens worked for months on the legislation, but critics say that the president, and the arguing between both houses of parliament debilitated the proposal. However, the definitive version includes ways to phase out polluting vehicles, accelerate energy efficient buildings, and limit plastic waste.
French cities with populations bigger than 150,000 inhabitants will be required to create low emissions zones, slimmer speed limits, and restricted access for the most polluting vehicles by 2025, and some of these vehicles will be banned from circulating from 2030.
Starting in 2028, commercials for the most polluting vehicles will be disallowed.
Another measure taken will affect air travel. Domestic flight routes that can be made by train in 2.5 hours or less will be eliminated. Greenpeace says this will only affect a handful of flight routes, and proposed raising the train travel time to 4 hours.
The goods and services, such as the textile industry will have to label their products with a “carbon score” to inform consumers of the environmental impact of their purchases.
In terms of housing, from 2025 homes rated with an F or G energy efficiency will not be considered appropriate housing and owners will need to renovate and upgrade in order to rent again. Starting 2034, the same will apply to homes with an E rating.
The only effort considered positive by Greenpeace France is to encourage a plant based diet. By 2023, schools will have to offer an entirely vegetarian menu at least once a week. In public administration, cafeterias must offer vegetarian options every day.
The government states the legislation will help France reach its goal of reducing GHG emissions by 40% by 2030, but many activists say that it is not ambitious enough, more so now that the European Commission plans to cut carbon emissions by 55% by 2030.
WWF France called the legislation “very far removed from the climate goals and expectations of citizens” and Greenpeace said it was “hugely disappointing”.
The Council of State has even threatened the government with a fine of 10 million euros per semester if it doesn’t take more decisive action against air pollution, in order to comply with the 2015 Paris Climate Accord.