The Council of State has just compelled France to justify, within 3 months, its commitments in the fight against climate change. This decision proves the town of Grande-Synthe right, which had attacked the state for inaction. For NGOs, this is a “historic” decision.

A “historic” decision according to the associations

On November 19, the Council of State gave France 3 months to “Justify that the reduction path by 2030 can be respected”. Indeed, the latter was committed to achieving carbon neutrality in 2050, as well as to reduce its emissions by 40% compared to 1990.

The high court thus recognized the request of the municipality of Grande-Synthe (North) admissible. In January 2019, the former mayor of the town, Damien Carême, sued the state for “Non-compliance with its climate commitments”. “I attacked the state by saying that residents and local elected officials were making efforts to reduce their emissions and that the one missing was the state itself! “, explains to Mediapart the one who is now MEP for Europe Écologie Les Verts (EELV). “By doing this, he is jeopardizing the future of the city, because ‘marine submersion’ means it would be wiped off the map. It also endangers the good of the inhabitants and their safety. “ The Council of State ruled that “The coastal town [de Grande-Synthe] is particularly exposed to the effects of climate change ”, particularly at the risk of submersion.


Other States have had to answer for their actions in the fight against climate change

Corinne Lepage, former Minister of the Environment and lawyer for Grande-Synthe, welcomes “A stop that seems historic to me”. “The Council of State emphasizes that the State has obligations not of means but of results. Twice he uses the word effectiveness, which means that policies shouldn’t just be pretty commitments on paper. “

“The Affair of the Century”, which brings together NGOs fighting against climate change, also sued the state for inaction. During the Grande-Synthe affair, he had joined as a “speaker”, and welcomed the decision of the Council of State. The former Minister of Ecology Nicolas Hulot greeted him ” giant step “.

Other states have received the obligation to justify their climate commitments. In 2019, the Netherlands was forced to reduce its CO2 emissions by Urgenda, a foundation supported by more than 900 citizens. The British state had to abandon its plan to extend Heathrow airport, the justice having concluded that the state had not sufficiently taken into account climate issues. Finally, the Irish government’s plan to fight climate change was rejected by the Supreme Court, the latter not finding it detailed enough.

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