After procrastination, the government will finally introduce a weight penalty for vehicles: a symbolic victory for the citizens of the Climate Convention while the measure will only concern a very small number of the heaviest SUVs.
Among its 149 measures proposed in June, the Citizen’s Climate Convention (CCC) called for the creation of a tax of 10 euros per kilogram for new vehicles over 1,400 kg.
The proposal, which did not have the support of Bercy, had not been retained in the 2021 draft budget presented at the end of September, to the chagrin of environmentalists who had made it one of the proofs of “unraveling” by the government of the proposals. citizens”.
While representatives of the association “The 150” of participants in the CCC were to be received by the Minister of the Economy Bruno Le Maire, Thursday afternoon, the executive finally decided.
“The weight penalty that we are introducing is a strong and necessary signal to take better account of the ecological footprint of the heaviest vehicles,” Minister of Ecological Transition Barbara Pompili announced on Twitter on Thursday morning.
“The heavier vehicle fleet means more materials and energy consumed, more pollution, less available public space,” she said.
According to the ministry, since 2010, the average weight of diesel cars has increased by 7% and that of gasoline by 14%, or about 100 kg per vehicle. This increase has stopped the decline in CO2 emissions from vehicles.
Taxation will therefore be 10 euros per kilogram above 1,800 kg, from 2022.
Even if the measure is below the ambition of the CCC, “it is still going in the right direction”, commented Grégoire Fraty, co-president of the “150”.
“We finally have the impression of winning an arbitration,” he told AFP, as the “citizens” sent a letter to President Emmanuel Macron on Monday to deplore the lack of “clear support” from the government towards their proposals, which the Head of State has undertaken to take back 146 out of 149.
– “Who are you kidding?” –
The government is planning “adjustments” for large families, as well as an “exemption” for electric and hydrogen vehicles.
The air pollution association Respire hailed “good news”, while WWF welcomed “historic government arbitration”.
The NGO, which had published a report last week estimating “incompatible” the “dazzling” growth of the SUV market for ten years with the respect of French commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, has nevertheless regretted that this only concerns a “niche” of the heaviest SUVs, and thus asked the deputies to apply a progressive penalty from 1,300 kg.
According to figures from the ecological transition agency Ademe, only 38,386 cars over 1,800 kg were sold in France in 2019, less than 2% of the total of some 2.2 million.
In the top 10 sales of these SUVs, 4x4s and minivans, particularly CO2 emitters and which can exceed 60,000 euros, were mainly German models and only one French.
“A + strong signal +? (…) Who are you kidding, Barbara Pompili?” Tweeted Clément Sénéchal, of Greenpeace.
If for environmentalists, the measure does not go far enough, for the automobile, it is already considered too disabling.
“It is not by creating new taxes that we will ensure a future for the automotive industry in France,” Luc Chatel, president of the Automotive Platform (PFA), which represents companies in the sector in France, told AFP. .
“We will win the battle for the climate together, not by weakening an industrial and service fabric that weighs nearly a million jobs in our country,” he added.
The association 40 million motorists denounced “an ideological measure which plays into the hands of extremist environmental movements”.
Other controversial measures proposed by the CCC are not resolved, opposing climate advocates and certain sectors that provide a great deal of employment, such as the airline industry and the automobile industry. For example, the eco-tax on air transport.