The Essonne energy and climate plan 2010-2014 is a pioneering step within the Essonne Agenda . It intends to be a first decisive move in the fight against the greenhouse effect. It is fully in line with the international objectives (Kyoto Protocol and EU 20/20/20) and the national commitments (Facteur 4 by 2050) to limit climate change. The plan has been developed from the Essonne carbon footprint assessment (Bilan carbone essonnien), which is an inventory taken in 2008 ; it measured the main sources of greenhouse gas emissions generated by on the Essonne territory (direct and indirect emissions).
Under the Grenelle 2 act (a french legislation settling measures against the greenhouse effect), authorities with more than 50,000 inhabitants must develop climate and energy plans by December 31, 2012. The institutional part of the initial action plan, approved by the Essonne Departmental Assembly on June 21, 2010, pre-empts legal obligations by almost 2 years. The plan is organised around the three levers the General council can use to spur the Essonne's citizens to action:
- leading by example,
- motivating citizens and local actors and institutions
- facilitating this local actors actions or behaviour changes.
The plan is organised in seven themes (buildings/energy, transport/mobility, purchasing/consumption/waste, economic activities, agriculture/biodiversity, regional planning and land management, and co-ordinating action). Thus it brings coherence to all the steps taken to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Essonne and to adapt the region to the effects of climate change.
The CLIMATE project (Changing living modes: taking action in our Territory for the environment) is born in the framework of the initial action plan. It obtained a financial support of €783,902 through the LIFE+ European programme. The project aims to demonstrate "how a departmental authority can use its resources to reduce greenhouse gases in the area it controls by 25% by 2020, involving and supporting all the main players in the area."
The Bilan Carbone (carbon footprint assessment) method was developed by the ADEME (French environment and energy agency) to enable local authorities and companies to assess their contribution to emissions of carbon (CO2) and other greenhouse gases (methane, nitrous oxide, etc.) mentioned in international agreements. The carbon assessment method makes it possible to quantify the direct and indirect emissions of greenhouse gases generated by the activities of an entity over a given period. It is represented in tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalents. In summary, the carbon footprint assessment for the territoriy in 2008 shows that the Essonne produces 11 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent per year, distributed as follows:
GHG emissions generated within the département Excluding the Orly airport platform 11200K t CO2 equivalent
The Essonne Conseil Départemental itself generates 163 000 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent, that is, 1.5% of the Essonne's emissions.
Emissions generated by the County Council's properties and the services it provides 163,400 t of carbon dioxide equivalent
A new Bilan Carbone will be product in 2014.
The action plan
Given the good relations with its local partners, the Général council can play an important motivational and coordinating role in the fight against the greenhouse effect in the Essonne territoriy . It can also work on its own policies and the examples it sets.
The Essonne was the second County council in France to adopt an Agenda 21 strategy in 2003. Following a vote at the Departmental Assembly on September 28, 2009, the Council took a further step, progressing from an Agenda 21 strategy for the County council to an Agenda 21 strategy for the whole of the Essonne territory. This latest action plan, built around 18 strategic objectives, identifies the fight against climate change as a priority. The development and implementation of an Energy and Climate Plan is one of the flagship actions of this Agenda 21 strategy.
The Essonne Energy and Climate Plan is based on the belief that a plan to fight climate change should tackle the many causal factors by mobilising all partners concerned. It includes two parts:
- The institutional part of the Energy and Climate Plan. As the driving force behind the dynamic, the County council is naturally included in the approach as a partner and should make the same efforts as everyone else to reduce greenhouse gases (GHG).
- The collective part, which brings together all the contributions made by people in the Essonne to reduce GHG emissions caused by human activities in the area.
The first action plan should place the Essonne county council firmly on the way to achieving the 20/20/20 objectives by the year 2020 and "facteur 4" objectives by 2050
The institutional part of the Essonne Energy and Climate Plan, encompassing 42 action points, is directly linked to the County council's levers of leading by example, motivating and facilitating. It sets out the action the province is taking either to reduce greenhouse gas emissions or adapt the Essonne area to the anticipated changes.
• Document available for download: the 2010-2013 plan of action [pdf]