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Félix Pouchain
Ingénieur modélisation énergie-carbone, Elioth (groupe Egis)
Published on March 13, 2018

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“Paris, an air of change”: towards carbon neutrality in 2050

Solar panels on rooftops, positive energy buildings, clean vehicles in the streets. This is what Paris could look like between now and 2050!

Vers la neutralité carbone à Paris en 2050

- Crédits : Diane Be

This scenario of a “carbon-neutral” city is based on an extensive foresight study conducted by Egis’ teams on behalf of Paris City Hall.

More details from Raphaël Ménard, foresight studies director and chief executive of Elioth, an Egis entity and the leader of the consortium formed with Egis Conseil, Quattrolibri and Mana.

Is carbon-neutrality by 2050 a serious possibility?

F.P. :Yes, it’s a change of era which will require efforts to be made in all areas and sustained over a long period. Our report recommends how to cut Paris’s carbon emissions by 50% by 2030, then by 80% by 2050 (excluding air travel).

Transportation accounts for more than half of our carbon emissions. How can we remedy this?

F.P. :Parisians must adopt new habits (carpooling, car sharing, cycling), and use more public transport, but also consider working from home. We must also develop “clean” vehicles more widely; running on electricity or hybrid energy. These measures, in addition to those taken on goods transportation, would contribute to achieving an 85% reduction in emissions, with noticeable benefits on air quality and living conditions in the city.

Let’s turn to energy transition. Is solar power the miracle solution for the City of Lights?

F.P. :The energy mix will obviously incorporate photovoltaic energy on the rooftops of Paris (approximately 30%) but also underground heating and cooling networks and large solar power farms (50km2 in total) and wind turbines (approximately 3,000) deployed outside its city limits to offset fossil energy emissions. Like other large cities, Paris will be a catalyst for the shift in the electricity mix and towards the disappearance of fossil fuels. This movement is unavoidable.

In 30 years’ time, Paris is expected to have 200,000 more inhabitants. How can we reduce the energy bill relating to buildings?

F.P. :Residential and commercial buildings (28% of carbon emissions), social housing and private housing blocks must be renovated. We must also develop shared housing and collaborative workspaces. Finally, we are strong believers in bio-sourced construction materials such as wood, which can capture carbon and reduce the emissions connected with the act of building, whilst also promoting short supply circuits and reuse sectors.

Will Parisians be asked to make efforts themselves?

F.P. :Yes, a section of our study is devoted to the transformation of city-dwellers’ living and consumption patterns, starting with food (a fifth of carbon emissions). Since meat production generates the most carbon dioxide, there will be less meat content in our diets. Urban agriculture will offer a way of promoting short distribution circuits, while the volume of household waste will be halved by promoting the circular economy and discouraging wastefulness.

“The foresight study “Paris, an air of change” conducted by Egis is one of the first bricks in the establishment of the new climate plan for Paris. It has drawn up a scenario and an emission reduction trajectory towards carbon neutrality, combined with a series of measures which both are innovative and also challenge our thinking outside our comfort zone. It has also enabled us to imagine new ways of living in a carbon-neutral city.
Célia Blauel - deputy-mayor at Paris City Hall responsible for the Environment, Sustainable Development, Water and the Climate and Energy Plan

Read the full report on the dedicated website http://paris2050.elioth.com/en/

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