Leadership and Democracy LabWestern Social Science

Changing Landscapes: The Paris Agreement and French Tourism

Primary Contributor: Samantha Jennings

Leader: Blaine Yonemitsu

Climate change is a pressing issue for France. With the increasingly changing landscapes around the world, there are many current and future implications resulting from global warming.

The COP 21 Paris Agreement

In November of 2015, France hosted the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris, known as COP 21. The conference came to a landmark agreement, the first to bind most countries to a commitment of reversing the effects of climate change. The Paris Agreement includes various mandates for the prevention of further climate change, such as reducing the rise of the global temperature to less than 2 degrees Celsius; requiring countries to regularly report their national emissions; raising funds for climate change prevention; and the advancement of new mechanisms to address the effects of global warming.  

France has every intention of upholding the mandates prescribed within the Paris Agreement and has urged other countries to follow its lead. French Prime Minister Manuel Valls has even expressed his sentiment to impose higher taxes on imports from countries that are neglecting to uphold the Paris Agreement. Beyond the Paris Agreement, the French government has furthered their commitment to tackling climate change by promising to close all coal production plants by the year of 2023.

The French Alps

Climate change is a particularly pressing concern for France, considering the implications of climate change to the French Alps. As of 2014, the French Alps were the most popular destination for French tourists and the second most popular destination for foreign tourists. Climate change has already made a large impact on tourism within the French Alps. Currently, 123 French resorts within the Alps are reporting low snow depth with the number of resorts experiencing snow loss will rise significantly if the average temperature within France rises anywhere between one to two degrees Celsius.

French tourist resorts are already trying to mitigate the implications of climate change within the French Alps. Recently, the French Tignes Ski resort announced that it will be building an indoor ski slope in the hopes of returning their ski season back to 12 months rather than the 8 month ski period they have experienced in recent years. However, this attempt to mitigate loss in revenue may be counterintuitive considering that the project will alter the landscape of the French Alps will further contribute to global warming emissions.

In terms of mitigating the risk associated with climate change, France is on the right path. France demonstrates a large degree of commitment to tackling climate change through both passing environmentally friendly legislation on the home front and by holding other countries accountable to the Paris Agreement. It is clear that France cannot solve the issue of climate change alone and will have to rely heavily on the support of its allies to ensure the environmental and economic prosperity of the French landscape. Beyond this, investors can look to increase their environmentally friendly products and operations given the fact that consumers have a positive view on environmentally friendly processes.