In 2009 a programme –“Re-thinking Society in a Post-carbon Society”– steered jointly by the Foresight Department of the French Ecology Ministry and the French Environment and Energy Management Agency (ADEME), was launched in France. It is still ongoing and aims to produce a final report in 2013. The idea of a transition towards a “post-carbon” society includes four main objectives: reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 to one quarter of what they were in 1990; near-autonomy with regard to carbon energies (petrol, gas, coal); an adequate capacity to adapt to climate change and, lastly, greater attention to situations of “energy precariousness”.
As part of the dossier Futuribles is devoting to this programme this month, this article represents a highly informative case study of the implementation of an area strategy for transition to “factor 4” –that is to say, the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 to one quarter of what they were in 1990. Baratier, Beauvais and Métais show how, largely on the basis of its “Territorial Coherence Plan” (ScoT), the Tours conurbation has set about equipping itself, in a two-stage process (with target dates of 2020 and 2030), to achieve a post-carbon transition by 2050. They outline the key measures and objectives by sector and major energy consumption element, aiming to modify lifestyles in the conurbation so as to make Tours a “low carbon” city, a city of localities. Local public action, which is essential for successfully achieving such a transition, cannot, of course, be effective without convergent efforts at all levels. Lastly, above and beyond this interconnectedness of public policies, the authors stress a number of questions that are equally crucial (in terms of timescales, economic investment, democracy etc.) in the implementation of a “territorial factor 4”.