Sustainable Innovation

French Government presents Grenelle II Laws ; Focus on Local Application

Today, the new ‘Grenelle II’ laws are presented in the French Parliament. Though the  ‘Tax Carbone’ has been abandoned (France will wait EU regulations). detailed plans are presented for building, transport and energy sector. Local authorities are asked to play a more important and facilitating role. French NGO’s point out the weakened ambitions since the Grenelle II and ask French parliament members to push the government to keep its promises (1, 2, 3, 4).

The Grenelle II follows the Grenelle I (2007) and a second public consultation round with representatives of large companies (MEDEF), SMEs (CGPME), NGOs.

The new law package contains six pillars and contains the ‘outlines’ and ‘logistics’ of the application on regional and local level.

1.  Improving the Energetic Performance of Buildings. Among the measures are : insisting on ‘Batiments a Basse Consommation’ (BBC, < 50 KW/H/m2 per year) for new buildings and to reduce the consumption of existing buildings by 38% untill 2020. Which makes sense as the existing buildings use on average 250 KW/H/m2 per year, as stipulated in earlier article.

2. Creating a change in Transport Use. Among the measures presented are : speeding up the process of public transport infrastructure, insisting local public authorities on offering ‘lease-bikes’ and car-sharing programs, and subvention of electric and hybrid car development.

3. Reducing significantly Energy Consumption and Carbon Emissions. Measurements foreseen are : Obligation of all entreprises with over 500 employes and municipalities with more than 500.000 inhabitants to calculate CO2 emissions on a yearly bases, see also earlier article, Stimulation of Renewable Energies, notably by simplification of governmental procedures.

4. Preserving Biodiversity. Pharmaceutical and hospital products will be more restricted and reported. Choice of new geographical zones that need special attention.

5. Risks, health and waste. Various measurements are proposed, such as the Protection of Electrical and Telephone Network workers. Quite remarkable is the new and explicit Interdiction of telephone use in all schools of all ages. The phones may only be used outside the school, nly with seperate earphones connected with a wire to the phone.

6. A new Ecological Governance Model. Introduction of Five ‘Colleges’ of Stakeholders : ONG, Entreprises, Unions, Public Authorities and Public Administration. Regions with over 50 000 inhabitants will be obliged to create a Sustainable Development report.  Exchange with NGOs, Associations and Entreprise Representatives will be extended on a regional and local level to reinforce transparance and exemplarity. Each product should carry CO2 emission information, related to the CO2 emissions created by transport of people and goods.

Open Letter of French NGO’s to vote against the new laws. A group of French NGOs have sent an open letter to the French public representatives to express their inconvenience with the current proposed laws that are regarded as ‘weakened’. They point out that the French Government tends to forget the earlier made promises in 2007 of the Grenelle I claiming to promote renewable energies, whilst subventionning notably nuclear (not solar nor wind energy) in the 2009 Grand Emprunt Plans. They ask the delegates to carefully study the new laws, ask clarifications, clearer and obligatory transparancy on social impacts of French companies and clear dates as of which new laws should be operational (such as the Eco-Etiquettage) (4).  

Sources and more information on : 1.; 2., 3.; 4.