On July 1, the Conseil d’Etat, France’s highest administrative court, found that the French government has not taken sufficient legislative action to meet its carbon emissions reduction goals, and ordered the government to take “all necessary measures to curb the curve of greenhouse gas emissions” (Politico).
Last Wednesday, the Administrative Tribunal of Paris ruled that France’s failure to meet its greenhouse gas reduction commitments have caused “ecological damage.” In order to meet its emissions reduction targets under the Paris Climate Accords, France had passed domestic laws promising to decrease emissions by 1.5% annually and 3% annually beginning in 2025. However, according to France’s High Council on Climate, these goals have yet to be achieved.
Last Thursday, France’s highest administrative court, the Conseil d’Etat, ruled that the French government would have three months to show that it is enacting policies to ensure it will meet its carbon emissions reduction requirements (Conseil d’Etat [FR], https://www.conseil-etat.fr/en/press-releases/greenhouse-gas-emissions-…
The coronavirus pandemic has dramatically increased reliance on single-use plastics, resulting in a plastics pollution crisis faced by many countries around the world. A French environmental nongovernmental organization recently released a video showing masks and gloves littering the seabed of the Mediterranean Sea.
In the 1980s, banana plantations in Nicaragua and other parts of Central America sprayed a powerful pesticide called Nemagon, sterilizing workers on a mass scale. Victims are now suing Dow Chemical, Shell Oil, and Occidental Chemical in France to recover $805 million in unpaid damages awarded to them by courts in Nicaragua. The case follows decades of suits in the United States and countries in Central America. In the past, Dow and Shell have declined to pay the damages, and U.S. courts have repeatedly ruled in favor of the companies.
On July 9, France's transport minister announced plans to introduce a new "ecotax" on all flights from French airports beginning in 2020. The tax, which will cost between 1.50 euros and 18 euros, is expected to raise over 180 million euros that will be used to invest in eco-friendly transport infrastructure, such as rail. The tax will not apply to flights arriving in France. For the full story, see https://www.apnews.com/be0605b81b214502b2fce419869ea09e.
In a lawsuit brought by a resident arguing that air pollution in Paris caused her respiratory problems, the administrative court of Montreuil held that the state had repeatedly failed to take sufficient measures to prevent pollution from rising above government-set thresholds between 2012 and 2016, when the resident contracted bronchitis.
On November 14, France announced plans to address deforestation around the world. It is proposing 17 measures aimed at halting deforestation caused by imports of nonsustainable forest and agricultural products by 2030. Measures include financial aid to encourage developing countries to respect non-deforestation criteria, the creation of a "zero deforestation" label for consumers, and a push for European policy on imports that pose a risk to forests. For the full story, see https://uk.reuters.com/article/us-france-environment/france-sets-out-pl….
The Ile-de-France region has plans to launch a large fleet of electric bicycles in a state-funded scheme that is aimed at encouraging bicycle commuting to reduce congestion and pollution. Under the scheme, a regional transport agency will provide up to 10,000 electric bicycles for long-term rental in the region with the hope of expanding the fleet to 20,000 bicycles. The bicycles will remain with the users, who can rent them for 40 euros a month, half of which can be subsidized by their employers.
France is taking aim at cigarette butt pollution, and looking to the tobacco industry for help. The government is asking tobacco companies to voluntarily propose commitments to reduce the number of discarded cigarette butts that litter the country's streets and contaminate its water. If the industry does not produce effective commitments by September, the government will force the industry to participate in measures to eliminate cigarette butt waste.