On the basis of which data are our climate plans produced?
In 2020, total urban emissions (including consumption) were estimated at 28.5 GtCO2 -eq, or between 67% and 72% of global CO2 and CH4 emissions. By 2050, in the absence of mitigation efforts or with moderate efforts, urban emissions are expected to reach 34-65 GtCO2 -eq, due to population growth, urban land expansion and demand for infrastructure and services.
Cities can only achieve net zero or near-zero GHG emissions through deep decarbonisation and systemic transformation that involves reducing urban energy consumption across all sectors.
To meet this imperative, the State has entrusted local authorities with the task of drawing up a Territorial Climate Air Energy Plan (PCAET). The PCAET is a planning tool that aims to mitigate climate change, develop renewable energy and control energy consumption. It is compulsory for all inter-municipalities with more than 20,000 inhabitants since 1 January 2019. Revised every 6 years, the PCAETs are also subject to an environmental assessment after 3 years of application.
The regulatory framework thus requires local authorities to assess the emissions generated by their territory at least every 3 years.
Bus is it enough?
How and how often do cities evaluate the effects of their climate plans? To find out, we conducted a study on the data used in 100 French climate plans.
The sample analysed is made up of 100 intermunicipalities that have launched their PCAET and for which it is available on ADEME's Territoires & Climat Observatory
The action plan of the PCAETs is based on an evaluation of emissions carried out at a given moment. If we take into account the time it takes to draw up and validate these documents, we observe a significant time gap between the diagnosis of a territory's emissions and the start of the action. This gap can be observed in the 100 climate plans we studied.
From one intermunicipality to another, the years of accounting for the emissions indicated in their climate plans can be very different. This is due to the fact that greenhouse gas assessments are not regularly renewed.
2014 : The year of the World Cup in Brazil!
Did you know that this is also the average year in which the GHG emissions data for the 100 climate plans we studied were recorded?
2020 : The start of Covid-19 in Europe ...
This is also the average date on which these 100 climate plans were approved. On average, there is therefore a 6-year gap between diagnosis and action!
Age of the diagnosis at the time of the elaboration of the action plan of the PCAET
While more than 60% of the local authorities analysed used data dating from between 2013 and 2015 to draw up their LEAP, 20% did not have access to data that was less than 10 years old.
How can we achieve our objectives with such a long-standing knowledge of our emissions?
Our study shows that a return to a continuous assessment of territorial emissions in climate strategies seems necessary. Following the example of CITEPA, which publishes an annual inventory of national emissions, local authorities should be able to access annual data on their emissions.