April 14, 2021

Judicial action against the French Government for not doing enough against climate change | Society

Judicial action against the French Government for not doing enough against climate change | Society

Four NGOs have decided to appeal to the courts against the Government of Emmanuel Macron considering that this is not doing enough to fight against climate change. The organizations, including Oxfam France and Greenpeace, threaten a process with the French president, his prime minister, Édouard Philippe, and a dozen of his ministers if they do not respond to their demands.

"The lack of action by the State in the fight against climate change translates into a guilty lack of the State when it comes to respecting its obligation to protect the environment, health and human security," argue the NGOs, among them also the association Notre affaire à tous and the Foundation for Nature and Man (FNH), founded by the former Minister of Ecological Transition of Macron Nicolas Hulot, who resigned this summer in protest at what he considers a lack of commitment to the environment of the French executive.

The Government, which according to the newspaper Le Monde received the written notification on Monday, has two months to respond before the NGOs take action and file a formal complaint before the courts, something that could happen in March of next year, according to Agence France Presse. And it is not a bluff, warned the ex-minister and current director of Oxfam France, Cécile Duflot.

"Not only do we expect a process, we also hope to win it. It is not something symbolic, "said the former Minister of Housing and Territorial Equality during the government of socialist François Hollande in an interview with the France Info radio station. As he recalled, there is a precedent:" An NGO did it in the Netherlands (in 2015 ) and won, forced the State to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 25%. " According to Duflot, former national secretary of Los Verdes, "France's public policies are not up to the task" of a climate challenge that is not a problem of the future "but of today. If we do not act quickly, the consequences will come in the next 15 years. We can not sit idly by watching the catastrophe come, "he added.

The threat of demand comes at a difficult time for Macron, a president who wanted to make the fight against climate change one of his flags, but who It has just been forced to cancel the expected increase in the rate for fuel next year to appease the social anger expressed by the revolt of the yellow vests, who have staged protests during the last month. NGOs are aware of this challenge and, in an online petition supporting their legal action, underline the need for the State to act against climate change with political measures that, nevertheless, "guarantee social justice".

According to the associations, this can be achieved by providing transportation alternatives while reducing the dependence on oil, investing in the renovation of homes or promoting the use of renewable energy, "Abandoning the use of fossil and nuclear energy" The State must also, they argue, "establish access for all to sufficient and quality food, ensure a decent income for farmers and fight against deforestation," among others.

In the Dutch case, the justice of that country relied on the European Convention on Human Rights to rule in favor of the plaintiffs and order the State to reduce greenhouse gases. "We imagine similar reasoning on the part of a French judge," Laura Monnier, responsible for the Greenpeace campaign, told AFP.

In France there is also a resolution in support of the NGO initiative: in July of last year, the State Council, the highest administrative jurisdiction, urged the State to act against air pollution, after a complaint filed by several NGOs, among them Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace. The State presented a "road map" for the air, which the NGOs considered insufficient, so last October they filed a coercive fine of 100,000 euros per day of delay. A "ridiculous amount compared to the exorbitant cost of air pollution, estimated at almost 100,000 million euros a year", justified the demand Friends of the Earth.


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