French President Emmanuel Macron believes the 27-member bloc has already done more than other major economies to reduce emissions. Is it true?
Last Thursday, during the presentation of a plan on how to reindustrialize France, President Macron called on the EU to stop the introduction of environmental regulations. His reasoning? That the 27-member bloc had already done far more than other major economies such as the US and China.
“I call for a European regulatory pause. Now we have to implement it. We must not make new changes to the rules because we will lose all the players in the industry. So we need stability,” said the French head of state.
It is an announcement that has given rise to a lot of criticism from the left as well as from environmental groups in France.
Manuel Bompard, a French left-wing member of parliament, tweeted “Climate change does not pause. This request is irresponsible.”
Whereas Roland Lescure, the French minister representing industry, defended Macron, saying Europeans emit much less than China, USA and India. Indian Prime Minister Modi has previously responded to those who criticize his country’s emissions.
During an interview with French radio, Lescure tried to justify Macron’s controversial statement: “He talked about the fact that a European emits less carbon than a Chinese, than an American, than an Indian. Europe is the only area that has reduced its greenhouse gases in the past. 20 years, by about 20%. The others have increased their emissions by 10%, 300% or 400%.
Is it true? To dig deeper, we looked at which countries are the biggest greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Per citizen.
According to a UN report published in 2022, the United States is the largest greenhouse gas emitter with over 14 tons of CO2 per per capita, followed by Russia with 13 tons of CO2 per per capita, followed by China with 9.7 tons.
The EU is still one of the largest emit a sixth place with 7.2 tons of CO2 per inhabitant, while the world average is approximately 6.3 tonnes per inhabitant.
Contrary to what the French Industry Minister announced, the EU emits 3 times more greenhouse gases than India (2.4 tonnes per capita).
However, it is true that the EU is one of the rare parts of the world that has reduced its emissions in recent years.
Since the 1990s, these have fallen by approximately 24%, according to the World Bank.
US greenhouse gas emissions have increased by 3.7% over the same period.
China, on the other hand, saw its emissions rise by nearly 300% over the same period. India saw a 178% increase in its emissions.
Was Macron right?
It is true that Europe is moving faster than other countries when it comes to reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.
But a UN report published in 2021 showed that even if every country in the world pledged to reduce its emissions, the planet would still see a rise in temperature of 2.7 degrees Celsius by the end of the century, leading to what they say would be “catastrophic changes.”
According to climate scientists, the only way to mitigate these effects would be if countries drastically changed their economies.