“The case of the century”: the noose is tightening on the government, accused of “climate inaction”

The noose is tightening a little more on the government. After the Council of State in July, it is the turn of the Paris administrative court to increase pressure on the executive to strengthen its climate policy. During a new hearing devoted to “The Affair of the Century”, Thursday, September 30, intended to clarify the implementation of a first decision rendered in February, the public rapporteur asked the court to order the Prime Minister to “Take all necessary measures” to repair the “Ecological damage” caused by non-compliance with some of its commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

She gives him until December 31, 2022, without asking at this stage, to accompany him with a financial penalty. However, it insists on the need to implement these measures “Within a sufficiently short period of time to prevent the deterioration of the damage observed”. In the eyes of justice: exceeding the first carbon budget (the emissions ceiling set by the government for the period 2015-2018), estimated at 15 million tonnes of CO equivalent2 by the rapporteur after the decreases observed in 2019 and 2020.

“Faulty deficiency”

This hearing marks a new stage in “The Affair of the Century”. After having launched the petition of the same name (more than 2.3 million signatures) to denounce the “climate inaction” of the State, the NGOs Notre affaires à tous, Greenpeace, Oxfam and the Nicolas Hulot Foundation had filed in March 2019 an appeal before the administrative court of Paris for “Faulty deficiency” of State.

In a first judgment, handed down on February 3, the administrative court had recognized for the first time that the State had committed a ” mistake “ by showing itself incapable of meeting its commitments to reduce greenhouse gases over the 2015-2018 period. France is committed to reducing its emissions by 40% by 2030 compared to the 1990 level and to achieving carbon neutrality by 2050.

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The decision of the Paris administrative court is expected in October. It should once again follow in the footsteps of the public rapporteur … and the Council of State. In another appeal aimed at the “climate inaction” of the State, this time filed by the city of Grande-Synthe (North), the highest administrative court set, in July, a shorter ultimatum to the government: it gave until March 31, 2022, on the eve of the presidential election, to “Take all useful measures to bend the curve of greenhouse gas emissions” in order to meet its reduction targets by 2030.

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