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ENVIRONMENT

Court gives France three-month deadline to justify its actions on climate change

France's top administrative court on Thursday gave the government a three-month deadline to show it is taking action to meet its commitments on reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Court gives France three-month deadline to justify its actions on climate change
Photo: AFP

The government of France, which brokered the landmark 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change, was hauled before the Council of State by the northern coastal town of Grande-Synthe, which is particularly exposed to the effects of climate change.

The Council noted that “while France has committed itself to reducing its emissions by 40 percent in 2030 compared to 1990 levels, it has, in recent years, regularly exceeded the 'carbon budgets' it had set itself.”

It also noted that President Emmanuel Macron's government had, in a decree in April, deferred much of the reduction efforts beyond 2020.

Before issuing a final ruling on the matter, the council gave the government three months to justify “how its refusal to take additional measures is compatible with the respect of the reduction path chosen in order to achieve the targets set for 2030.”

In an unusual move for the court, reflecting the global nature of the issue at hand, it published its decision both in English and French.

In January 2019, the then Greens mayor of Grande-Synthe, Damien Careme petitioned the Council of State over the government's “climate inaction”.

Careme said his town, which is built on land reclaimed from the sea, risked being flooded by rising sea levels.

The town's case was backed by the cities of Paris and Grenoble, as well as several environmental NGOs including Oxfam France and Greenpeace France.

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ENVIRONMENT

Massive hornet-trapping campaign begins in south west France

Across south west France trapping campaigns have begun in an attempt to control the numbers of dangerous Asian hornets.

Massive hornet-trapping campaign begins in south west France

Trapping campaigns are organised annually at this time of year, as the weather begins to get warmer and queens begin to emerge from hibernation.

And the Charente-Maritime town of Royan Atlantique, on France’s west coast, is leading the way, as the below video shows.

Experts say that now is the time to begin using the traps, as catching queen hornets in the process of building their nests will lead to far fewer insects later in the year. 

Some 2,000 traps are installed in and around Royan this year, including 300 that were distributed to householders in the week of Valentine’s Day. 

Once installed, the traps can capture several dozen insects at a time.

In order to capture a maximum of hornet queens, traps should be installed between mid-February and mid-May. Especially since during this period, these predators end up coming out of their hibernation.

It is believed Asian hornets arrived in France around 2004. They have now spread nationwide.

Although their venom is not more powerful than that of normal bees or wasps, they are known to be more aggressive towards humans, and their stings can cause anaphylactic shock in allergic people.

The hornets also damage beehives and kill bees, damaging honey stocks and destroying the native ecosystem.

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