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Climate and environmental issues

Key figures
Useful links

The following links will take you to articles, videos, dossiers, websites and online courses to help you get started and better understand the current climate crisis. You can then explore certain topics in more depth by accessing our “Coming to grips with the issues” section.

Towards carbon neutrality: where do we stand?

Climate negotiations

International climate negotiations began in 1979 with the first World Climate Conference. However, it was the creation of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in 1992 that allowed the importance and anthropogenic causes of climate change to be officially recognised.
Since then, Climate Change Conferences (COP) have been held regularly to bring State Parties together and enable them to discuss the Convention’s implementation and negotiate new commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to climate change.

Our current trajectory

France has reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by 18% between 1990 and 2017. However, this decrease is largely due to the contraction of its industrial activity after the 2008 crisis, which lead to the disappearance or offshoring of 15% of French industry. Meanwhile, emissions have stagnated in the agricultural and construction sectors, and increased in the transport sector.
Taking these facts and the rate at which we are currently reducing our GHG emissions into account, it becomes clear that we are not on track to fulfil our commitments to cut emissions by 40% by 2030.
On a global scale, GHG emissions are on the rise: they have increased by 64% between 1990 and 2017.

Coming to grips with the issues


The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is an intergovernmental organisation founded in 1988. Its mission is to evaluate scientific, technical and socio-economic data related to climate change, its causes, its potential consequences, and mitigation strategies.
Since its creation, the IPCC has published 5 assessment reports and is currently in its sixth assessment cycle. Each report is prefaced by a summary for policymakers, which provides an overview of the situation.


The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) entered into force in 1994. Its goal is to stabilise greenhouse gas emissions “at a level that will prevent dangerous human interference with the climate system”.
This framework convention is one of the first to recognise that human activity has a significant impact on the climate.


The Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) is an international group of experts on biodiversity.
Founded in 2012 at the behest of the UN, the IPBES acts to popularise environmental science and provide an interface between biodiversity expertise and governments. It also aims to bolster available national resources, especially in emerging countries, to tackle environmental issues


The IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) brings together governments and civil society organisations.
Its mission is to influence, encourage, and assist societies in conserving the integrity and diversity of nature and to ensure that natural resources are used fairly and sustainably.


The IEA (International Energy Agency) is an international organisation that was founded in 1974 after the first oil shock. It aims to significantly and quantifiably improve the current outlook in Europe by providing policymakers and the public with targeted, reliable and relevant information.
It is pursuing 4 main missions:
1. Energy security
2. Economic development
3. Environmental awareness
4. Global engagement
This organisation is best known for its yearly World Energy Outlook report.


The UN Environment Programme is the leading global authority on the environment. The organisation defines the world’s environmental programme, facilitates the coherent implementation of the environmental aspect of sustainable development within the UN system, and serves as a defender of the environment worldwide.


The European Environment Agency (EEA) is an EU agency whose mission is to provide reliable and independent information regarding environmental issues.
It aims to support sustainable development and contribute to significantly and quantifiably improving the European environment by providing policymakers and the public with targeted, reliable and relevant information.
Namely, it publishes a comprehensive report on the state and current outlook of the environment in Europe. The 2020 report is the latest available edition.


The Agency for Ecological Transition, created in 1991, aims to advise, facilitate and assist in the funding of various projects - from research to knowledge-sharing in all fields related to protection of the environment and biodiversity.
An actor in the field of sustainable development, the ADEME plays a role in the implementation of public policy in the fields of energy and environmental protection.


Created in 1961, CITEPA is science-based NGO specialised in atmospheric pollutants and greenhouse gases, providing inventories, projections and expertise.
CITEPA quantifies, identifies, provides expertise, and reports on atmospheric emissions data, explanatory variables and efficiency indicators, as well as methods for monitoring, quantifying, and modeling emissions of greenhouse gases and other atmospheric pollutants.


The IPSL was founded in 1995 and encompasses nine laboratories with environment-focussed research topics.
The studies carried out by this institute mainly aim to understand the physical processes at work in the oceans and the atmosphere and the impact that human activity may have on these processes.


The High Council on Climate is an independent organisation, tasked with issuing advice and recommendations for the implementation of public policy and measures to reduce France’s greenhouse gas emissions.
It publishes regular reports to provide independent updates on the government’s climate policy.
Its four goals are:
1. Impact French policymaking and reduce GHG emissions
2. Include adaptation to climate change
3. Communicate with all stakeholders
4. Operate on an international level

GoodPlanet Foundation

Created in 2005 as a non-profit organisation, GoodPlanet was declared a public interest foundation and became the ‘GoodPlanet Foundation’.
It aims to "make ecology and humanism a central issue in order to encourage people to take concrete action for the Earth and its inhabitants" through awareness-raising campaigns and concrete field projects.


Created in 2008, the European Climate Foundation is a INGO aiming to promote climate and energy policies that would reduce GHG emissions in Europe.
Its three main goals are: to support the development of a low-carbon society, to help the world remain under the 2°C global warming threshold, and to balance the triptych of climate protection, energy security and economic growth.


Created in 1961, WWF is an international NGO that is fighting to protect the environment and promote sustainable development.
It is one the world’s biggest NGOs: its active network covers over 100 countries and 6 million members.


Created in 2014, Project Drawdown is an ONG that, as the name suggests, aims to help the world reach "drawdown", that is, the point at which levels of GHG in the atmosphere begin steadily declining.
It provides information on possible solutions to combat global warming.

The Shift Project

Created in 2010, The Shift Project is a French association that promotes a zero-carbon economic model to address the double challenge posed by carbon: climate change and the increasing scarcity of fossil fuels.
This think tank aims to enlighten and influence the debate on energy transition in Europe. Working groups made up of experts allow the organisation to produce comprehensive analyses of the key aspects of the transition to a zero-carbon economy.

Global Footprint Network

Global Footprint Network is an international research body founded in 2003. It aims to develop tools to allow sustainable to progress, namely by reducing our environmental footprint.
It is known for the yearly publicisation of "Earth Overshoot Day", that is, the date upon which the resources consumed by humanity in a year outstrip the Earth’s ability to regenerate them (biocapacity).

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