Top court orders French govt to take more climate steps

AFP - [email protected]
Top court orders French govt to take more climate steps
The town of Dunkirk argued that it faces increased risks of flooding because of the climate crisis. Photo by DENIS CHARLET / AFP

France's top administrative court on Wednesday ordered the government for a second time to reduce greenhouse gas emissions within a year, in a case brought by a town threatened by rising sea levels.


"The State Council today orders the government to take new measures by June 30th, 2024 and to send an interim report laying out these measures and their effectiveness by December 31st," the judges said.

The mayor of Grande-Synthe, a suburb of Dunkirk in northern France, brought the case for "inaction on climate" in 2019, saying that the coastal town was in danger of being submerged.

Judges first ordered the government in 2021 to reduce greenhouse emissions by 40 percent compared with 1990 levels by 2030 - in line with the Paris Agreement.

But an official charged with evaluating the changes told them last month that he did not believe ministers had done enough.

"Additional measures have indeed been taken and reflect the government's will to execute the (court) decision," judges said Wednesday.

Nevertheless, "it is still not guaranteed with sufficient credibility that the trajectory of greenhouse gas emissions reduction can effectively be kept up," they added.

The city of Paris as well as campaign groups like Greenpeace and Oxfam are also parties to the case.


Although the court has required new measures of the government, judges on Wednesday stopped short of ordering financial penalties should the state fail to comply.


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