Fossil of the Day – France

The Fossil of the Day goes to France for postponing its target for dropping the share of nuclear energy in its power mix. France therefore sends a bad signal on its ability to meet its already agreed to energy transition targets at home and its shift towards a 100% renewable future.


France, you’ve been doing good so far on the international stage! You helped shape the Paris Agreement at COP21, and since then you’ve been working to achieve ambitious outcomes at UNFCCC conferences. Congratulations on this — keep up the good work!


But guess what? Strong ambition at international meetings is not enough. “Making our Planet Great Again” also requires national policies that live up to international rhetoric. Backsliding from agreed upon commitments cannot happen if you want to remain the gatekeeper of the Paris Agreement.


Yesterday, your government announced that you would not honour your 2025 target of phasing nuclear down from 75% to 50% of your electricity mix, delaying your ambition from 5 to 10 years. This target was part of a law for energy transition, passed after 3 years of inclusive dialogue with French civil society and ahead of COP21. ECO reminds you that your newly elected President Emmanuel Macron made the promise to respect and implement the energy transition as such.


But instead of running the full implementation by increasing energy efficiency measures and accelerating the deployment of renewables (where, by the way, you’re going to miss your 2020 target), your national debate will now focus on WHEN to phase down nuclear when it should be focussed on HOW to speed up the transition NOW.


At a time of urgency, your decision sends a bad signal at European and global levels: it suggests that a plan that was legally passed for energy transition, which aims to diversify energy sources towards more renewables, can be changed from one day to another without any dialogue. It also sends the wrong signal to countries mainly reliant on a single energy power source who may use this as cover to postpone their own transitions.


Next week, your president will be speaking on the UNFCCC floor. Do not miss this opportunity to show true leadership through global ambition AND bold national policies! We are counting on you!