FRENCH COURT GIVES MACRON THREE MONTHS TO JUSTIFY LACK OF CLIMATE ACTION

11/23/2020

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], Conseil d’Etat [EN]). The court will make its final decision, which cannot be appealed, at the end of this period (Reuters).

In its recent ruling, the court pointed out that the country is behind its promised goals, having already surpassed its carbon budget at several benchmarks (Courthouse News). France’s current emissions target is a 40% reduction compared to 1990 levels by 2030. Between 2015 and 2018, the country’s rate of greenhouse gas emissions decline was approximately half of what it would need to be to meet this goal (Reuters). The court also referenced an earlier decree by President Emmanuel Macron, in which he officially declared that emission reduction efforts would be deferred until after 2020 (France24, Local).

The case was brought before the Conseil d’Etat by Grande-Synthe, a low-lying commune in Northern France. The town’s mayor, Damien Carême, has stated that the city is under great threat from inundation due to climate change and has criticized the national government for its “climate inaction” (L’Express [FR]). Grande-Synthe was supported in its case by the cities of Paris and Grenoble as well as several environmental nongovernmental organizations, including Oxfam and Greenpeace (Local).