UK's 2008 Climate Change Act's stocktake has shown the Climate Change Committee (CCC)'s pivotal role in the country's climate governance. In France however, the Comité d’experts pour la transition énergétique (CETE) has to articulate its action with that of numerous other governance bodies. As the French government is about to create a new committee dedicated to prospective and energy policies monitoring-its mandate could resemble that of the CCC-lessons can be drawn from the CCC's action and its capacity to preserve its pivotal role.
CCC, CENTRAL ACTOR OF CLIMATE GOVERNANCE IN THE UNITED KINGDOM
Created by the Climate Change Act 2008, the Committee for Climate Change has become the cornerstone of climate governance in the United Kingdom during its first 10 years of existence. It plays a central role in the assessment of climate policies (on both adaptation and mitigation) and the definition of carbon budgets. Its mandate is further strengthened by its close links with the British Parliament and the obligation of the government to meet the recommendations of this expert committee.
SUFFICIENT MEANS TO GUARANTEE INDEPENDENCE
Having the status of an independent administrative authority, the CCC benefits from a strong autonomy in the management of its activities. With a secretariat of about 30 people and an annual budget of around 4 million euros, it has substantial resources that guarantee its ability to produce expertise relevant to public policies, which is the foundation of its legitimacy and ensures its independence.
WHAT LESSONS FOR FRENCH GOVERNANCE ?
The diversity of consultative and advisory bodies in the field of energy policies in France is often regarded as a complicating factor. Faced with this observation, the Court of Auditors recently issued a reform proposal aimed at replacing all of these organizations with a new institution of experts to inform government decisions. This proposal raises two issues. The first regards the need to clearly distinguish the issue of strengthening the role of independent experts from that of reforming the stakeholder consultation bodies, both of which have different (although complementary) rationales and institutions. The second regards the possible evolution of the Expert Committee for the French Energy Transition. Although it has a similar mandate to the British CCC, it currently has fewer skills and means, considerably limiting its influence. The experience of the CCC could serve as an inspiration for the proposed reform, illustrating the virtues of a truly independent expert authority with strong skills and sufficient resources.