President Emmanuel Macron said on Monday France will triple its heat pump production over the next four years as part of a government climate plan.
Calling heat pumps "a fabulous lever for substitution, with much lower energy consumption and emissions", Macron said France would produce one million such devices, and train 30,000 people able to install them, by 2027 when Macron leaves office after two terms.
Heat pumps can both heat and cool air, and are increasingly seen as a climate-friendly alternative to fossil fuel heating systems such as gas boilers, as well as air conditioning.
According to the International Energy Agency, the heating of space and water accounts for almost half of the global energy use in buildings, with nearly two thirds being covered with fossil fuels.
It has called for faster deployment of heat pumps and other means of decarbonising heat to meet governments' commitment to reach net zero emissions by 2050.
Speaking after a session of a council on climate held at the presidential palace with key ministers, Macron also said that the government would spend 700 million euros ($740 million) on the creation of 13 suburban train lines, known as RER, in and around French cities "to encourage people to switch from private cars to lower-emission public transport".
Contracts would be signed with regional authorities that would allow France's rail industries to launch new projects, and create jobs, he said.
The climate plan would help make France more "sovereign", "competitive" and "fair" as it decarbonises the economy, he said.
France has pledged to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 55 percent by 2030 compared to their 1990 levels.
This, Macron said, meant France had to move "twice as fast" now compared to previous years.
- Industrial solutions -
Turning to the price of energy, which has risen in the context of oil price rises, war in Ukraine and inflation, Macron said that France would "take back control of our electricity prices" by next month.
This, he said, would make the cost of energy both "bearable" and "visible" for households and companies.
Macron said he stood by his target of France producing at least one million electric cars by 2027, and becoming an exporter of car batteries the same year.
The climate plan, Macron said, was part of France's strategy to foster "an ecology that creates economic value" in Europe, and to end "our dependence on fossil fuels" the price of which he said totalled 120 billion euros per year for France.
As part of the plan, Macron said the government would work with high-emissions large industries such as steel and cement making and chemical industries to reduce their carbon footprint.
Its mining sector would explore for metals, including lithium and cobalt, needed for battery production, he said.
The country would also seek out sources of natural hydrogen in its territory for use in the transition towards cleaner energy.
France was also examining its possibilities to install "at least one site" for carbon capture, a fledgling process by which carbon is extracted from the air and stored, increasingly seen as necessary to reduce global warming.
A French solution for carbon capture would "reduce our dependence on the outside world" in that area, Macron said.
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