“Proposals for taking action. After an initial report submitted in June 2022 on the vulnerabilities of the Pays de la Loire region to climate change, the independent group of experts on climate (IPCC) created at regional level draws up a series of particularly ambitious recommendations for “to make the region a unique and pioneering example” in this area. “These proposals may seem radical, but they are up to the climate challenges,” says Antoine Charlot, its secretary general.
The rapporteurs first recommend the organization of a “territorial COP” on the climate, mobilizing public and private players to lead to the signing of an agreement aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 6% annually ( GHG) and the increase in “carbon sinks” (trees, meadows, wetlands, etc.), capable of storing an additional 150,000 tonnes of CO2 per year, in particular by planting one million trees each year.
They propose to launch a training module for leaders (elected officials, business leaders, associations, etc.), which is compulsory for players who benefit from public aid, and to raise awareness among young people. The authors also suggest creating a regional climate change observatory to continuously analyze the available data.
He invites the actors of the territory to “quantify the carbon impact of their investments” to “gradually eliminate” those which would be “harmful to the climate”. He also suggests “conditioning the allocation of public aid to companies on decarbonization criteria”.
Transforming the economy and employment
The Giec recalls the importance of massively reducing energy consumption in transport (reducing travel, pedestrianizing town centers, developing rail and river transport), buildings (doing more with what already exists, using more sober materials) and industry (produce “less but better”).
The rapporteurs call more broadly for a “regional plan for the transformation of the economy and employment”. This would require stronger support for sectors linked to ecological transition and aid for the retraining of jobs in polluting sectors (industry, fossil fuels, etc.).
Protect water resources
For agriculture, which emits 28% of direct GHG emissions in the region, the IPCC recommends, here again, a radical change of model by training farmers in climate issues and providing them with “social and financial” support: reduction imports of animal feed or inputs, diversification of production, development of a legume and cereal sector (such as sorghum), transition from intensive to extensive farming (linked to a drop in meat consumption ), support for agroforestry.
To protect water resources, experts recommend prohibiting the construction of large-scale water storage structures filled by pumping into groundwater (the famous mega-basins). They also propose to create an alert tool on tensions in drinking water.
Local carbon offset market
Another novel proposal is to create a local carbon offset market. This would allow, for example, a polluting company to offer additional income to a farmer wishing to plant hedges. The IPCC also suggests creating an emergency climate fund to enable companies to become more resilient in the face of hazards (storms, frost, etc.).
Finally, it invites us to rethink land use planning from top to bottom (fight against soil artificialisation, renaturation of cities, relocation of habitats in the face of coastal risks, restoration of wetlands or agricultural polders, etc.). So many measures that require “all players in the region to question obsolete models in order to replace them with new, more sustainable and less risky ones”.
IPCCs at the regional level
The IPCC of Pays de la Loire was llaunched in October 2020 by Comité 21, network of actors committed to sustainable development, with financial support from the region.
It is the counterpart of Giec created in several French regions: New Aquitaine, Normandy, Occitanie, Paca…
This group of experts is made up of researchers from several universities (Nantes, Le Mans, Gustave-Eiffel), Grandes Ecoles (Essca, Ensa) or research institutes (Ifremer) working in various disciplines (geology, hydrology, urban planning, geography, psychology, economics, finance, geopolitics, civil engineering, public Law…). Its secretariat is provided by Committee 21.