It seams like we have found one of the countries that is still surviving the European Financial crisis. French people would certainly comment that I am very optimistic but in comparison with Greece, France has only 11% unemployment, less than the half of Greece. Actually we might be witnessing either the beginning of the impact in France or just the stabilization of the french economy: the GDP, the inflation and the consumption are nearly stable with between 0,5 -0,6% increase. On the other hand the decrease of the production (by -1.1%) can be an alerting point or this evolution is quite normal when all other indicator remain stable, especially consumption. The only domain where we still have a clear increase, slowly I must admit, but increasing is the building activity (by 1,1% compared to last year). This is an interesting point, and important since the building activity employs a lot of people. This French slow motion conjoncture gives a sort of confort in their capability to undertake the obstacles. Environmentally speaking, as a French, from my severals visits to my native country here are some key caracteristics of the french people: they are quite supportive to the protection of the environment and they follow the basic rules (meaning for recycling and anything that touches organization of the society). Don’t forget that french people are very proud and most of all they are aware of the treasure nature gives them. A lot of activities are developped in rural regions, giving them the opportunity to develop and keep population decentralized. All this was not always the case, but if I remember correctly about 5 to 10 years ago, the French government made a very important effort to decentralize from Paris regional management and pushing companies to get install in rural regions, at least out of Paris. The general trend can be observe in our table, Greenhouse gas emissions have drop down from 101 (2005) to 93 (2010) but also most indicators show respectful results. French have made improvement, renewable energies have rased from 9,2% in 2005 to 11,4% in 2010 of the gross energy consumption. Energy consumption and CO2 emissions from fuel combustion has dropped by 4% and 8% respectively. Biodiversity remains stable meaning that the protected aereas and the measures taken to avoid reducing it have worked and show results.
France and the environmental cause is a long story, they might not be the perfect example among European countries but it is surely one of the best students. Measuring and environmental management have been introduce since more than twenty years in the country, it might be the reason why they still have correct indicators. Nevertheless, the target of reaching 23% of renewable energy in 2020 can be unfeasible since they only increased it by two points in five years. In addition, the target of 32.715 water extraction by 2020 would be interesting to see how far we are from it in 2013 (As soon as the information is out, I will update the French Card). Finally, we must also underline, that even if in France, rules are mainly applied as much as from enterprises as from individuals, France has an important nuclear energy activity and very important air pollution (acid rain) problem to face.
Articles about France:
Encyclopedie of Nations: France Environment http://www.nationsencyclopedia.com/Europe/France-ENVIRONMENT.html
France Environment – current issues http://www.indexmundi.com/france/environment_current_issues.html
Ministry of Ecology, Sustainable development and Energy http://www.developpement-durable.gouv.fr/
France Nature Environnement (FNE) http://www.fne.asso.fr
Agir pour l’environnement http://www.agirpourlenvironnement.org/
Statistical Profile http://www.insee.fr/fr/
Country Environmental Indicators:
OECD Environment: Key tables from OECD – ISSN 2075-826X – © OECD 2012