Over the last 18 months, the French government has abolished the wealth tax, increased flat-rate social security contributions, reduced housing subsidies and increased the tobacco tax. Taken together with the energy tax increase and a lack of compensation, these measures have contributed to the widening of economic inequalities in French society.
Like any consumption tax, the CO2 surcharge on energy consumption has a greater effect on low-income households than high-income households in percentage terms. This was also the case in France. A per capita redistri-bution of revenue or other redistribution mechanisms are necessary to balance this.
In France, most of the revenue from the CO2 surcharge on energy taxes was used for consolidating the budget. The contribution climat énergie was therefore not recognised by large parts of the population as a climate protection measure. In addition to so-cial compensation, it is therefore necessary to use the revenues for climate protection measures which are transparent and easily accessible.
Each saved kilowatt-hour of electricity reduces fuel and CO2 emissions, as well as investment costs forfossil and renewable power plants and power grid expansion. If electricity consumption can be lowered by10 to 35 percent by 2035 compared to the Reference scenario outlined in the study, the costs for electricitygeneration will reduced by 10 to 20 billion euros2012.
One saved kilowatt-hour of electricity would lead to reduced electrical system costs of between 11 to 15euro cents2012 by 2035, depending on the underlying assumptions. Many efficiency measures wouldgenerate lower costs than these savings, and would therefore be beneficial from an overall economicperspective.
A significant increase in energy efficiency can significantly reduce the long-term need to expand thetransmission grid: between 1,750 and 5,000 km in additional transmission lines will be needed by 2050,down from 8,500 km under the “business as usual” scenario.
Reducing power consumption by 15 percent compared to the Reference scenario would lower CO2 emissionsby 40 million tonnes and would reduce spending on coal and natural gas imports by 2 billion euros2012 in2020.