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France: carbon-neutral in 2050?

Enerdata assists "Entreprises pour l’Environnement" in building a Zero Net Emission* Vision for France in 2050

  • France commits to carbon neutrality

Going beyond the objectives set for 2030 and the Facteur 4** greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction commitment it adopted back in 2003, the French government has announced that, as part of its Climate Plan presented in July 2017, it was targeting carbon neutrality*** by 2050.

Many actors, and among them private companies, wish to engage in the debate which will take place by the end of 2018 during the revision of the Stratégie Nationale Bas Carbone (National Low-Carbon Strategy), or SNBC.


  • Entreprises pour l’Environnement (“EpE”) launches the “Vision ZEN 2050” project

EpE is an association of about forty companies from all sectors of the economy. EpE and several of its members have just launched the "Vision ZEN 2050" study to explore possible answers to the following questions:

  • What will a carbon-neutral France look like in 2050?
  • How can we anticipate changes in our society?
  • What trajectories should we consider in order to achieve this “ZEN 2050” vision?
  • Where do we start? What actions should we take in the next 5 years to make these trajectories possible?


  • Enerdata pilots the consortium chosen for this study

Enerdata and Carbone 4 are leading the consortium chosen by EpE to carry out this study.

Enerdata will provide its experience on prospective energy-climate studies, its modelling tools and expertise.

Carbone 4 offers a wide sectoral knowledge of national issues and the experience earned by monitoring the evolution of the carbon footprint.

Solagro brings together experts in agriculture and energy who will address issues related to food, agriculture and land use.

Stéphane La Branche is a sociologist and will lead the analysis on the evolution of households’ lifestyle.

Finally, CIRED will contribute to the macroeconomic analysis, and particularly to the analysis of the evolution of the job market in various sectors.


  • An innovative approach to new challenges

The scope of the study covers all sectors and all greenhouse gases. In this context, a net zero emission objective by 2050 is very ambitious and requires an innovative approach.

Indeed, the “ZEN” ambition would entail an emission reduction by a factor of 6 to 8 (according to selected forecasts on the country’s carbon capture capacity). Our goal is therefore to search for every possible means of reducing GHG emissions, without holding back.

The selected methodology follows these key points:

  • Adopting a sectorial approach and taking into account interactions between sectors
  • Complementary approach through household analysis: lifestyle changes, trends…
  • Integrating recognized skills into every focus point: economic sector, food, land use, energy production, sociology, territorial and national policies…
  • Back-casting approach: we will work from the description of the 2050 ZEN French society and analyze different trajectories likely to get us there.


The project aims at producing results by the fall of 2018.

The members of EpE are highly motivated by this study and the exchanges across all sectors of the economy it involves. We hope to show that a carbon neutral society by 2050 is not only essential to the climate - as well as the national economy - but that it is achievable and desirable to all French people” declared Claire TUTENUIT, EpE General Secretary.

For Pascal CHARRIAU, CEO of Enerdata: “leading this project with EpE is a great source of motivation for Enerdata. Beyond our approaches on the decarbonisation of various sectors by 2030 or 2035, the ZEN 2050 goal necessitates a very thorough approach (industrial, economical, sociological…), and we are thrilled to be conducting this high-quality consortium. We are hoping that this methodology can be reused for similar approaches in other countries”.

*: Zero Net Emission: a zero-balance carbon footprint, meaning anthropic emissions = anthropic absorptions.

**: the Facteur 4 objective, implemented in France and the European Union as a whole, consists in dividing by a factor of 4 GHG emissions between 1990 and 2050. It is the contribution considered by most developed countries to divide global emission levels by 2, reaching a level compatible with a 2°C scenario.

***: the project aims at achieving carbon neutrality on the whole mainland territory, without transferring emissions to other countries.