FRANCE’S HIGHEST ADMINISTRATIVE COURT ORDERS GOVERNMENT TO INCREASE CLIMATE MITIGATION EFFORTS
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).
The case was originally brought forward by Grand-Synthe, a low-lying commune in the North of France. The local government argued that climate change impacts—made more inevitable by the lack of government action—would lead to eventual inundation of its city (France24). In November 2020, after hearing the case, the Conseil D’Etat gave the French government three months to prove it was enacting policies that would make its greenhouse gas emissions reduction target, a 40% decrease compared to 1990 levels by 2030, achievable. Observers at the time noted that between 2015 and 2018 the rate of decline in French greenhouse gas emissions was half as fast as it needed to be to achieve the country’s stated objective. Nearly eight months later, the court affirmed that France must do more to meet its goals (Reuters).
The decision ordered the government to take additional actions against climate change before March 31, 2022. After that date, the court will assess the state’s new measures, and could issue a fine if the new policies fall short of expectation (Reuters and Jurist).