The government has only seven days to answer for its climate inaction

Tick ​​tock, tick tock. The deadline is approaching for the government. In October 2021, seized by several associations, the administrative court of Paris asked the state to take « all necessary measures » to rapidly reduce its greenhouse gas emissions. With a deadline: December 31, 2022.

The ultimatum arrives, and according to the four organizations behind the complaint — The Foundation for Nature and Man, Greenpeace, Our business to all et Oxfam France — the government is still not doing enough.

« Since the court ruling just over a year ago, the period has been characterized by missed opportunities to be truly ambitious on these topics, and even backsliding »laments Justine Ripoll, campaign manager for Notre Affaire à tous.

It cites in particular the decision of the State of reopen the coal plant of Saint-Avold (Moselle), the government’s lack of anticipation to deploy renewable energiesor the refusal to finance more rail transport and the thermal renovation of buildings.

Financial penalties to force the state

Solicited by Reporterrethe Ministry of Ecological Transition did not specify whether it intended to produce a brief before December 31, to provide proof of its efforts before the court (an exercise, however, optional).

After that date, the organizations at the origin of the action (which had been baptized “The Deal of the Century”) have indicated that they will ask, at the beginning of 2023, the administrative court of Paris to require the payment of financial penalties, to force the State to act.

In the fall of 2021, the associations had already suggested the establishment of a penalty payment of 78 million euros per semester of delay. A provision that the court had not retained.

The Case of the Century began in December 2018, when the four claimant organizations sent a « prior request » to the government, then launched an online petition. In less than three weeks, it had exceeded the bar two million signatures.

In February 2021, the administrative court of Paris first recognized that the state had committed a « mistake » by emitting too many greenhouse gases over the period 2015-2018 (62 million tonnes equivalent CO₂ too much compared to the set carbon budget).

The same court then, in October 2021, asked the State to repair this damage before the end of 2022. Without specifying the nature of the measures to be implemented.

« It’s not for my apple »

« The conviction for climate inaction is for the period before (2015-2018), not for my apple »has since affirmed Emmanuel Macron, in a video posted on YouTube in November 2022. The one who was only elected President of the Republic in 2017, however, held a key position during this period: he had been Minister of the Economy since 2014.

« Since then, we have gone into overdrive, he continued. There is a proof, it is simple: during the past five-year period (2017-2022), we reduced our emissions twice as fast as we had done in the past five years. »

However, this is still insufficient, noted the High Council for the Climate in its annual report in June 2022. Above all, this reduction is mainly due « the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic » and the fact that the government increased the 2019-2023 emissions capto more easily achieve its objectives.

Condemned twice for climate inaction

in this video « response to Internet users », Emmanuel Macron also pretends to forget that the State has not been condemned only once for climate inaction. It was for a second, in the so-called Grande-Synthe affair.

In July 2021, the Council of State considered that the climate measures taken by the government were not sufficient to meet the national target for reducing greenhouse gas emissions (–40 % by 2030, compared to 1990).

The highest French administrative court had ordered the Prime Minister to take « all useful measures to achieve the objective resulting from the Paris Agreement » before March 31, 2022. Again, the applicant associations consider that the contract has not been fulfilled. This promises new court hearings for 2023.

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