Just The Facts

French Emissions: Nuclear Limitations

Will France be able to maintain its low carbon emissions going forward?

Credit: Alvaro www.flickr.com

Takeaways


  • French per capita emissions fell by 21.5% between 2006 and 2015 – greater than the EU average (19.5%).
  • UK emissions have declined back to 1894 levels, as wind production now outpaces coal-fired production.
  • Nuclear power, along with hydroelectric power, means 94% of French energy production is carbon-free.

1. The EU countries whose per capita carbon dioxide emissions are closest to the global average of 4.9 tons per person are France (5.1), Portugal (4.9) and Hungary (4.9). The EU-28 average is 6.9.

2. France’s total carbon dioxide emissions were 0.33 billion tons in 2015. This compares favorably to the similarly-sized UK population, which had a total output of 0.4 billion tons.

3. French per capita emissions fell by 21.5% between 2006 and 2015 – greater than the EU average (19.5%).

4. UK emissions did, however, fall even more (by 32.8%) – the fifth-greatest decline of any country worldwide.

5. UK emissions overall have declined all the way back to 1894 levels, as wind production now outpaces coal-fired production.

6. A major component to reining in French emissions remains France’s extensive nuclear power network.

7. Nuclear power, along with hydroelectric power, means 94% of French energy production is carbon-free.

8. However, nuclear power is not likely to remain economically competitive with increasingly cheap renewables.

9. Nuclear costs will mount as France’s aging nuclear plants reach their replacement dates or face costly repairs.

10. By necessity, France is likely to follow Germany’s lead on denuclearization by mid-century, creating a new set of challenges.

Sources: The Globalist Research Center, the Emission Database for Global Atmospheric Research, the Independent, World Nuclear News, The Guardian, Energy Transition

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