NGOs seek to condemn the French state for its inability to deal with the climate crisis | France
A Paris court has been asked to condemn the French state for its alleged failure to act to end the climate crisis.
The lawsuit, which is brought by four environmental groups after a petition was signed by more than 2 million citizens, seeks to hold the country accountable for ecological damage and its adverse effects on health and society.
NGOs hope the case will trigger more action to limit climate degradation by seeing it as a human right, and say condemning the French would represent an important symbolic victory and could force other governments to do more.
Paris agreement signed five years ago aimed to limit global warming to less than 2 ° C above pre-industrial levels. Donald trump fired the United States of the agreement in 2017. Environmental experts say governments, including the French administration, have not honored their commitments.
NGOs and climate activists are increasingly using the courts to push for change and put pressure on politicians. In 2019, the Dutch Supreme Court ordered the Netherlands reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 25% from 1990 levels by the end of 2020. This case was brought by an NGO.
The case in France began in December 2018, when four NGOs filed a formal complaint accusing the government of failing to reduce environmentally harmful emissions. This followed an online petition signed by a record 2.3 million people.
When organizations Green peace France, Notre Affaire à Tous, the Nicolas Hulot Foundation and Oxfam France received what they considered to be an inadequate response, they filed a legal complaint in March 2019. The groups demand symbolic damages of € 1 from the government French.
“We are very optimistic about this hearing and the decision that will follow,” Jean-François Julliard, director of Greenpeace France, told AFP. He said the organizations were asking the court to recognize that the state was not doing enough. “The icing on the cake would be a decision to urge the state to do more to put France back on the path of the Paris agreement,” he said.
France has pledged to reduce its emissions by 40% by 2030, but NGOs say the state is exceeding its carbon budgets and is not acting quickly enough to renovate buildings to make them energy efficient or to develop renewable energies. They claim that this has a serious impact on the quality of daily life and the health of the French.
In a written defense, the French government dismissed the charges of inaction and asked the court to dismiss any compensation claims. He argued that the state cannot be held solely responsible for climate change when it is not responsible for all global emissions.
Julliard said bringing the case was a risk for NGOs. “If we lose, it will be easy for the state to say, ‘We won in court. Stop your incessant demands.
Thursday morning, as the hearing opened at the Administrative Court of Paris, a giant banner bearing the inscription “We are 2.3 million” was unveiled nearby.
The Nicolas Hulot Foundation said in a statement: “The climate crisis remains the greatest concern of the French, even with the health crisis. Even though we had record temperatures in 2020, the state is continually delaying its action.
He added that NGOs “are optimistic that the tribunal will recognize the state’s climate inaction. Finally, we hope that the judges will recognize the general obligation of the State to fight against climate change … such a decision would be historic and would enshrine in the legal texts the fact that the fight against climate change is necessary as protection. fundamental rights.
Marie Toussaint, MEP for Europe Écologie Les Verts and founder of Notre Affaire à Tous, told the newspaper 20 Minutes that winning the case was important because it would make climate protection “a human right and a real obligation” for EU states.
“This hearing is the ‘deal of the century’ and historic because it is the most sustained action in the world for climate justice. It’s the result of people’s actions, ”she said.