“We need to be responsible”

COMMITMENT/Within the COP21 framework, Monaco has pledged to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 50% in 2030. Marie-Pierre Gramaglia explains how.

In accordance with Monaco’s national contribution, you need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 50% in 2030. How are you planning to manage that in practice?

Monaco had already targeted an 8% reduction in greenhouse gas emission compared to 1990. For 2012, we are already at -13.2%. We have gone beyond our stated greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction goals. Monaco, with Switzerland, is one of the most ambitious countries in terms of GHG reduction. Monaco has 3 sectors which emit the most greenhouse gas, each at the level of 30% of total emissions – transport, waste repurposing and all that is building-related (heating and air conditioning).


And so?

To achieve these goals we are going to continue and intensify the efforts we committed to several years ago, whether in promoting green mobility, improved energy efficiency in buildings, thermal regulation for fuel oil, supporting photovoltaic development, differentiated waste sorting. Finally, I would recall the importance of the sustainable development fund agreed by the SMEG since 2009, and aimed at contributing to finance actions to manage the demand for energy (MDE), develop renewable energy and control greenhouse gas emissions.


How do you plan to persuade people to give up their cars?

In recent years, the government mobility and travel goals have been to encourage the use of public and intermodal transport (train and bus) and to favour the use of low carbon dioxide emission vehicles (known as clean). Thus, the state has invested 50 million euro in TER trains which have enabled us to increase Monaco station’s service frequency in the mornings and evenings. The state also favours train/bus intermodal transport, between Monaco’s bus company network, the SNCF, the neighbouring towns and département bus routes. In soft mobility terms we are sensitive to the development of mechanised links such as public lifts, and will continue to create these at Engelin, Annonciade II or the new hospital. This is important, as we know that walking already accounts for 50% of trips within Monaco.


What about the TCSP (transport en commun en site propre) bus lane plan?

The study has finally been completed. The Department of Forward Studies, Urban Planning and Mobility (DPUM) has to present the TCSP project to the government very soon. It would cross Monaco from east to west, by road, which would however require the creation of structures (tunnels, viaducts) to ensure its continuity. The route has not been settled on yet but this TCSP would have its own motorisation. All constructions on abandoned SNCF tracks were effected leaving a wide route which would be dedicated to this future TCSP.


Would it have the pace of a suburban train?

Of course we envisage the most suitable frequency possible. The bus network will be revised to improve service, taking into account the TCSP for when it is in operation.


You have mentioned solutions mainly concerning the resident population. The problem also stems from pollution coming from the over 105,000 road vehicles entering and leaving Monaco daily. Are park-and-ride facilities the solution?

Outside Monaco, sites are being considered for building park-and-ride facilities – La Brasca, la Cruella and la Scoperta. Generally speaking, we are in constant contact with the French authorities on these issues. And in Monaco, inbound park-and-ride facilities are planned to the east and west: 1850 spaces at the Exotic Garden and 700 at Testimonio II. If the project under consideration is validated, motorists parking at the west entrance will be able to take a cable car at the top of Boulevard du Jardin Exotique. It is still hypothetical but the proposed route connects the Exotic Garden to Fontvieille (shopping centre).


How many people would it carry?

One of the two projects is for 8-person gondolas and the other for a high capacity cable car. Theoretically, the gondolas would be taken on with a throughput of 2000 to 3000 passengers per hour. This solution is very innovative and interesting.


Do you think you will need to take drastic action one day – alternated traffic, closing the city centre to cars or a toll at the entrance to Monaco?

All solutions can be envisaged but for each one we need to suitably assess the possible consequences. None of these options are realistic today. The alternative is to continue our policy to strengthen the priority of public transport over cars.


Building also accounts for 30% of greenhouse gas emissions. What pollutes the most?

Gas and fuel oil heating is a major source of greenhouse gas emission. We are trying to do away with fuel oil in all buildings which have it now, and it has been banned in new buildings since 2006. In the 1960s, Monaco innovated with the seawater heat pump system, which supplies heat and cold to several buildings at the harbour, in Fontvieille and Monte-Carlo. Now it is a question of extending this process by creating an urban heating and air conditioning network based on this technology in the east of Monaco. This loop could supply the Testimonio II sea urbanisation district and later on Annonciade II. In Larvotto we are looking at how the seafront buildings which are currently fuel oil heated could come within this hot-cold loop.


Your electricity is nuclear. Is that an intentional choice of Monaco?

As you know, Monaco’s electrical supply network is connected to the French network, and as a result the electricity is mainly of nuclear origin. However, 4% of the electricity consumed in Monaco comes from a renewable source generated in the Principality. This corresponds to energy generation from the UIRUI plant and solar cells. The state has subsidised solar power electricity generation since 2012, and development of photovoltaic installations is now a government priority. The relief granted to producers amounts to 0.36 euro/m2 for non-roof integrated installations and 0.53 euro/m2 in other cases. This incentive is guaranteed for 15 years.

Furthermore, the Société Monégasque de l’Electricité et du Gaz (SMEG) offers all users its “EGEO” offer (renewable source guarantee offer) which ensures that the same amount as the electrical consumption is generated from renewable sources. In 2014, 12% of electricity purchased in Monaco was generated from renewable energy sources. According to estimates this figure should rise 8% in 2015. The government is setting an example in this area, as all its consumption is through an EGEO contract, also the Prince’s Palace, City Hall and Princess Grace hospital, in addition to many businesses and private individuals.


Prince Albert has announced that Monaco aims to be carbon neutral in 2050. Is that complicated? Does the country’s smallness make things easier or more difficult?

That is a good question. But Monaco is not alone, it is part of a network of cities (including Copenhagen, San Francisco and Sydney) which have committed to carbon neutrality. We need to be fully responsible at our scale and have a driving force. This is why the Prince is one of the first to commit Monaco to carbon neutrality, with an initial major goal of reducing GHG emissions by 50% in 2030. For comparison, Switzerland is pursuing the same objective as Monaco and the EU has pledged a 40% reduction.


According to the Nicolas Hulot Foundation, with the national commitments to date we will not achieve the goal of stabilising global warming at 2°C. You have attended certain ministerial meetings. What is your feeling on the states’commitments?

In principle all states agree, but when they have to announce a contribution that commits them, strategies aimed at conditioning their commitment to their neighbour’s appear undeniably… Moreover, the debate remains between developed and developing countries. For the developing countries, the developed countries responsible for this climatic situation need to make a bigger effort. It is absolutely essential to reach an agreement with the major polluting countries.


Have you decreed a decision on Fontvieille incineration plant (which accounts for 30% of greenhouse gas emitted)?

We will launch a call for tenders for a waste repurposing plant. It will not necessarily be an incineration plant. If a revolutionary technology is identified in the future, which after analysis would suit Monaco perfectly in energy performance and reliability terms, then we can consider it. Even if, with the present state of technology and concerning the site forced to be the location of this plant, incineration would appear to be the most efficient solution. Our goal is in any case to greatly reduce greenhouse gas emissions, particularly by optimising waste sorting. We must succeed in incinerating less and less plastic which emits the fossil CO2 we are fighting.


Can a negotiated solution be found with France?

France does not want our waste. We have spoken with the prefect and mayors about funding the building of an incineration plant in the area. The French authorities, both local and central, have declined this proposal. Waste treatment is a sensitive matter for all communities.

_Interview by Milena Radoman.

écrit par Milena