As the G20 and UNFCCC meetings draw closer, France’s Green Plan (le Grenelle Environment Round Table) and a couple recent additions are worth a quick review. So a few things:
• The Oceans Initiative (Le Grenelle de la Mer) was originally announced in February 2009, but major action has just started in the past weeks.
• the French government will launch in April an eco loan of up to 30,000€ with no interest rate to increase the use of thermal renewable energy sources and of energy conservation.

Le Grenelle is a rare example of federal-level government-led effort to connect the State, unions, employers, NGOs, and local authorities in a rigorous process to determine approaches to climate change.

The “Grenelle Environnement,” officially launched on 6 July 2007, and combines the state and civil society in order to define new actions for sustainable development in France (through 2012). Action plans were developed around the themes of: climate change and energy, biodiversity and natural resources, health and the environment, production and consumption of ecological democracy, development patterns and environmental employment and competitiveness.

With regards to Le Grenelle de la Mer, four working groups have been formed this month around the themes of:
* Sustainable fishing
* Employment in the marine sector
* Coastal development
* Governance at the local and global level

The working groups will produce a road map before the summer, which will then be submitted to an inter-ministerial committee. The project is viewing ocean and fishing issues as strongly tied to changes in climate in the near and long-term futures.

According to the latest report on fisheries published by the FAO in March, around 28 percent of world fish stocks are over-fished.
One big unanswered question is how France will reconcile the need for sustainable fishing policies with the fishing subsidies, which cost France 27 billion Euros per year, according to calculations by Daniel Pauly, head of the Fisheries Center of the University of British Colombia.

Let’s shift gears to the Grenelle Housing Initiative, which is gearing up for action…

The energy and environment Minister, Jean-Louis Borloo expects heavy energy –efficient renovations to go above 400,000 per year, to be compared to the current 40,000. He goes on to say that each construction project built prior to 1990 has to be renovated. This represents 27 million housings, including 15 individual houses.

People willing to benefit from these loans have to choose two or three options among the following:

* Insulation of the roof ;
* Insulation of the walls ;
* Replacement of doors and windows ;
* Installation of a more efficient heating system ;
* Installation of a water heating or housing heating system with renewables.

By choosing two, one can benefit from an eco loan of 20,000€; choosing three, one can get 30,000€. Households will have from ten to fifteen years to payback these loans.

To Mr. Borloo, such a scheme would allow households to cut by 70 to 80 percent their heating bills.

Sounds like Frnace has some good ideas to share at the upcoming international climate change meetings.

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