France's carbon dioxide emissions have remained constant over the last two decades despite efforts to curb the potent greenhouse gas, a government agency reported Thursday.
Between 1990 and 2007 - the most recent year for which figures are available - total CO2 emissions increased slightly from 438 million to 439 million tonnes, according to the ministry for sustainable development.
While the country has become more energy efficient during that period, the ministry noted in a report, increases in production and consumption have more than offset gains in efficiency.
"Technical advances have led to a decrease in emissions per unit of production and consumption," it said.
"But due to an increase in the volume of production and consumption, the quantity of CO2 emitted in France has remained roughly the same."
Had there been zero economic growth during the same period, carbon dioxide output would have decreased by more than 30 percent, Michele Pappallardo, commissioner for sustainable development, told AFP.
Overall CO2 emissions from industry declined by ten percent, but those from the service and transport sectors continued to climb by 25 and 35 percent, respectively.
Household emissions from heating and vehicle use - which make up a third of national CO2 output - also went up.
The report noted that 33 percent of carbon dioxide emissions coming from national production was generated by products destined for export.
The findings did not include other greenhouse gases covered by the Kyoto Protocol, which legally binds 37 rich countries to cut output of six heat-trapping gases by about five percent before 2012, compared to 1990 levels. The efforts required varies across countries.
From 2007 to 2009, France's output of Kyoto gases went down by 10 percent, 6.4 percent in 2008 and 4.0 percent in 2009, putting the country on track to more than fulfill its treaty obligations.
Looking just at the energy sector, France has outperformed its European neighbors in curbing CO2, thanks mainly to the fact that 85 percent of its electricity production is generated by nuclear power.
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