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

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

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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