Photo Credit: Sophie Robichon/Paris
By Célia Blauel, Paris Deputy Mayor in charge of environment and sustainable development
The international community has sent out a strong signal to citizens, economic operators and members of civil society by setting the goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2050 and by defining the transition towards a more environmentally and climate-friendly way of life as a universally shared vision.
For the past ten years, thanks to their Climate Plans, cities have become the local leaders of the fight against climate disruption. At Paris City Hall on 4 December 2015, over 1,000 representatives of local governments signed the Paris Pledge for Action1 which encouraged Parties to adopt the Paris Agreement and committed them to cutting greenhouse gas emissions in their territories drastically (by 80%), to acquiring 100% renewable energy resources by 2050, and to improving the resilience of their cities to climate risks, now and in the future.
Back in 2007, Paris adopted a proactive and ambitious Climate Action Plan with a view to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, including a reduction target of 75% between 2004 and 20502 and a short-term target of 25% by 2020. In the last 10 years, the carbon footprint3 of the city has decreased by nearly 10%.
On the strength of this commitment, the City of Paris initiated the elaboration of the New Climate Air Energy Plan of Paris in 2016 by launching a wide consultation with the entire Parisian community (inhabitants, associations, companies, researchers, administrations, etc.). In total, more than 500 proposals have enriched the reflection.
This new Paris Climate Plan outlines a common future for a carbon-neutral city by 2050, which is adapted to extreme climate events and resilient in response to crises and shocks. It conveys a positive message for a sustainable and equitable city for everyone.
In line with the goals of the Paris Agreement, by the horizon of 2050, the City of Paris plans to:
- Reduce local emissions by 100%, achieving the goal of zero emission in Paris
- Promote an 80% reduction in the carbon footprint of Paris and involve all local stakeholders in offsetting for residual emissions.
To attain zero emission at the local level, Paris’s energy consumption will need to be halved and 100% of the energy consumed will need to be from renewable origin by 2050.
30 years is a short time for such a major transformation of society. Certain initiatives need to be implemented over a long period. The transformation of energy and food systems in Europe, France and Paris’ area will be a long-term process. The strategic choices must be made right now to ensure a successful outcome in 2050. It is also important to send out a strong and consistent signal to economic operators so that they can immediately include this transformation in their development. We must also plan for an overall transformation that is based on the digital revolution and on innovations in order to anticipate regulations that will ensure the proper use of these technologies and enable their mobilisation for the benefit of a shared project.
Certain actions, such as reducing levels of atmospheric pollutants, will have rapid and permanent effects. In this way, compliance with the WHO recommendations by 2030 will guarantee the air quality for 2050. Other actions will occur in the longer term, such as the modification of behaviours and lifestyles.
It is essential that the energy transition is solidarity-based and excludes no one, and that the new services, future forms of mobility and energy-efficient dwellings of tomorrow are within everyone’s reach. This blueprint for society will also generate jobs, innovations and career changes, improvements to the living environment and to the health of inhabitants, and Paris will participate fully in this transition.
Read the press release from the City of Paris here.
Photo credit: Marc Verhille
 Based on 2004 levels
 Carbon Assessment (Bilan Carbone®) methodology taking account of all emissions (direct and indirect) in the Paris area