On October 14, the Administrative Court of Paris issued an opinion ordering the French State to fulfill its commitments in the fight against climate change. The ruling, which does not impose fines or sanctions, gives an ultimatum to the authorities to take the corresponding measures before December 31, 2022.
It is a victory for environmentalists in France with the help of the judicial system. The ruling of the Administrative Court of Paris requires the French State to take all measures to “repair the ecological damage” for the breach of its own commitments against global warming.
Specifically, the court requires the government to respect the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the country by 40% by 2030, compared to 1990.
Consequently, it asks you to avoid a further increase in pollutant emissions.
“It is necessary to order the prime minister and the relevant ministers to take all useful sectoral measures that can repair the damage down to the level of the uncompensated part of greenhouse gas emissions in the first carbon budget,” the judges said. .
The lawsuit was imposed by four NGOs under the slogan “Issue of the century” and was backed by a petition from more than 2.3 million citizens who highlighted the violation of the responsibilities outlined in the national low-carbon strategy.
Although the court did not impose fines to enforce its ruling, if authorities do not take appropriate steps to reduce emissions by the end of 2022, the court could then impose sanctions, explained Arie Alimi, one of the lawyers for the complaining organizations.
For the moment, the ruling rejects the NGO’s request to apply a financial sanction of 78 million euros for each six-month delay in reaching the goals.
“The judicial system becomes an ally in the fight against climate change”
France is now considered one of the nations where activists have been able to lean on the judicial system to force their governments to take action against climate change.
And it is that last August, the Council of State, the highest administrative court in the nation, fined the Government of Emmanuel Macron with 10 million euros for not improving air quality, a decision described as historic.
“Now the judicial system is becoming an ally in our fight against climate change,” said the director of Greenpeace in France, Jean-Francois Julliard, while celebrating the ruling on October 14.
The trend has spread to other countries in the European Union. In April, Germany’s Constitutional Court ruled that the nation must update its climate law by the end of next year in order to pin down how it will reduce carbon emissions to near zero by 2050.
In the Netherlands, the Supreme Court ordered the government, in late 2019, to cut greenhouse gas emissions faster than planned.
Climate legal action makes clear that countering serious environmental damage is an urgent race.
The most recent decision produced in France comes less than three weeks before the opening of the crucial conference on climate, COP26, while UN experts on this matter have once again sounded the alarm about the acceleration of the climate. global warming.
With Reuters and AFP