PARIS (AP) — Just back from the UN climate summit in Egypt, French President Emmanuel Macron is due to meet the heads of the country’s most climate-damaging industries on Tuesday to urge them to reduce gas emissions. greenhouse gases, in a context of growing competition from the United States and China.
The meeting at the Elysee presidential palace in Paris aims to accelerate the reduction of carbon emissions – which requires new technologies and investments worth billions of euros (dollars). Macron is expected to provide details on potential state aid to help polluting industries take action.
The move comes a day after Macron called on the nations of the world to “continue to act” to respond to the climate emergency at COP27 in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt.
The industry accounts for around 20% of France’s national greenhouse gas emissions. About fifty industrial sites in France, which represent more than half of these emissions, belong to about thirty French and international groups, whose management has been summoned to the Elysée. They include major producers of cement, steel, aluminum and other metals and chemicals.
Changes in the sector are essential to meet the targets set by the European Union to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% by 2030 compared to 1990 levels and to achieve carbon neutrality. by 2050.
Yet the transition to new, greener technologies is costly, and France and the European Union want to avoid seeing major industries leave the continent and instead invest in other parts of the world, such as the United States and China, declared the Élysée.
The challenge is all the more difficult as industries are already suffering from the major energy crisis aggravated by the Russian war in Ukraine.
US President Joe Biden’s administration this summer passed a bill providing billions in climate incentives, including to dramatically reduce the costs of renewable energy in factories. The move could spur other countries to do more, especially China and India, the two biggest carbon emitters along with the United States.
China, which has set a long-term goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2060, launched its first national carbon exchange last year in a bid to create financial incentives for companies to cut emissions. .
Among those represented at Tuesday’s meeting are the French subsidiaries of the world’s largest cement groups, Holcim – owner of Lafarge France – and HeidelbergCement. Senior executives from chemical companies Solvay, Borealis, ExxonMobil Chemical France and Total Petrochemicals France will also be present, as well as global steelmaker ArcelorMittal.
An official from the French presidency said that the fact that “all these emissions are generated on a relatively small number of sites obviously offers a perspective on the ability to decarbonize them. It also shows how huge the task is.
The objective is to have industries on French soil capable of manufacturing carbon-free products or at least drastically reducing emissions, he stressed. The official spoke anonymously in accordance with the usual practices of the French presidency.
Companies promoting solutions to reduce carbon emissions, such as clean hydrogen and carbon sequestration, will also attend the meeting.
Macron has launched plans to accelerate the development of renewable energy in the country, including offshore wind farms and solar power, as France lags behind some of its European neighbours.
He also announced earlier this year that France would build six new nuclear reactors as part of the country’s strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. French nuclear provides about 67% of French electricity, more than any other country.
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