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Low-carbon could create 66,000 new French jobs claims report

By Simon Warburton | 26 November 2015

Carbon emissions claims remain highly contentious, but COP21 in Paris will address world response to any global warming

Carbon emissions claims remain highly contentious, but COP21 in Paris will address world response to any global warming

Renault, Michelin and a raft of energy providers, as well as suppliers, are backing a low-carbon report published ahead of next week's COP21 meeting where dozens of Heads of State are expected to descend on Paris.

COP – the Conference of Parties and also known as the 2015 Paris Climate Conference – aims to achieve a legally binding and universal agreement on climate with the aim of keeping global warming below 2°C – although previous such gatherings have garnered significant scepticism.

COP21 will be one of the largest international conferences ever held in France and with nearly 50,000 participants including 25,000 official delegates from government, intergovernmental organisations, UN agencies, NGOs and civil society expected to attend, security will be paramount in the wake of the recent terrorists attacks which claimed the lives of 130 people in the French capital.

To coincide with the huge gathering, the: "En route pour un transport durable" ("Working Towards Sustainable Transport") report has been published with the input of several French and European enterprises, as well as NGOs.

Technical analysis was undertaken by Element Energy and Artelys, while economic modelling was provided by Cambridge Econometrics.

Some of the study's key findings include low-carbon vehicles could generate 66,000 jobs and reduce passenger car CO2 emissions by more than 40% by 2030 in France, while the report also claims such deployment could see Paris' spending on oil imports of plumet by EUR5.9bn (US$6.3bn) per year in 2030.

Other theories include a possible total reduction in annual energy costs across the French light duty vehicle fleet in 2030, of EUR12.4bn or EUR591 per motorist per year if the energy taxation approach remains unchanged.

"This report demonstrates low carbon automotive technologies represent growth potential for the French economy," said Michelin pre-development director, Eric Vinesse. "It is important means are given to all players in the industry in order to develop their solutions together.

"At Michelin, we deeply believe in it. Our efforts in research, development for tyres of the future and our investment in fuel cells, for example, demonstrate this commitment."

French unions such as CFDT FGMM, are welcoming the report, particularly the emphasis on job creation for the automotive sector, although its Metallurgy section cautioned approval of such vehicles "must not be an excuse" to slow down the transition but should rather be a chance to train employees.

"The results of this study reinforce Renault's strategy as the first European manufacturer to have invested in electric vehicles," added Renault director for environmental planning and strategy, Jean-Philippe Hermine.

"They are today a sustainable mobility solution accessible to all. The 280,000 electric vehicles in circulation produced by the Renault-Nissan Alliance are already contributing to improved air and life quality in our cities.

"The carbon footprint of electric vehicles, already low in France, will be further reduced by the on-going development of renewable energy."