French court decision this week “a historic victory for climate justice”

French judges have ruled that the government is failing to meet its obligations to fight climate change in a decision hailed as a triumph for environmental campaigners. Charles Bremner writes on The Times website about this week’s developments.

 

France failing to meet Paris climate pledge

French judges have ruled that the government is failing to meet its obligations to fight climate change in a decision hailed as a triumph for environmental campaigners.

The Administrative Tribunal upheld a complaint brought by Greenpeace, Oxfam and two French environmental groups and ruled that the government was “responsible for ecological damage” because it had not reduced greenhouse gas emissions as it had undertaken to do in the Paris climate accords.

The 2015 Paris Agreement, rejoined last month by the United States under President Biden, aims to limit global warming to less than 2C above pre-industrial levels. France has committed itself to reducing emissions by 40 per cent by 2030 compared with 1990, but efforts were postponed until after 2020.

Cécile Duflot, a former left-wing cabinet minister who heads Oxfam France, called the court decision yesterday “a historic victory for climate justice”.

The judges awarded €1 each in symbolic damages and delayed for two months a decision on whether the court would order the government to take specific steps on greening the economy.

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