Climate: the Council of State maintains pressure on the government
Are the measures taken by France to fight against global warming and guarantee the trajectory…
Are the measures taken by France to fight against global warming and guarantee the trajectory of lower CO2 emissions by 2030 credible? For the Council of State, uncertainty remains. And when in doubt, the administrative judges decided to maintain the pressure on the State. In a decision issued on Wednesday, they order the government to take new measures by June 30, 2024. And they ask it to make a first detailed essment of their effectiveness by the end of this year.
“All the measures adopted [récemment] shows the will of the government to achieve the objectives”, notes the highest administrative court, while noting that “the evaluation of these measures is based on hypotheses not verified to date”. However, the Council of State did not issue a financial penalty, as demanded by the municipality of Grande-Synthe and the NGOs.
Laws and billions
At the beginning of 2019, this coastal city in the North, very exposed to the risk of marine submersion, had seized the judges for “climate inaction”. Environmental ociations had joined the appeal. For the first time, the state found itself sued over the issue of global warming.
End of 2020, the Council of State had ordered the government to demonstrate how it intended to reduce greenhouse gases by 40% by 2030, before making a decision described as unprecedented in July 2021: the account is not there , he had then decided, summoning the executive to take more measures. Giving him nine months to respond.
In May 2022, in a memoir handed over to the Council, the government had ured that France was on the right track , including to meet the even more ambitious objectives of Brussels. He placed at the heart of his arguments the set of measures resulting from the various climate or energy laws, starting with the Climate and Resilience law. But also the announced boom in the development of renewables, as well as the billions put on the table for the energy transition, among others via “France 2030”. Finally, the government highlighted the new governance put in place, with the National Ecological Planning Secretariat (SGTE).
twice too slow
“The effort seems significant to us compared to the start. […] The decline is underway, but not enough to achieve the objectives, ”explained the public rapporteur for the Council of State, Stéphane Hoynck, during a hearing on April 12.
Last year, emissions fell by 2.5%, according to provisional figures from Citepa, after a rebound of 6.4% in 2021 which followed a drop of almost 10% in 2020 linked to Covid. A “completely fragile” development, according to Stéphane Hoynck. The Council of State stresses that the reductions recorded in recent years “are very contrasting”, and that “it is uncertain that the reduction of emissions can be accelerated sufficiently from 2024 in order to reach the target set by the legislator in 2030”.
“This litigation is expected to last longer, we are called upon to review the judge, the file therefore remains open, and for a long time”, remarks the lawyer of the collective “Affaire du Siècle” (which brings together NGOs) before the Council of State, Guillaume Hannotin. “Little by little, we are going to get closer to 2030. The Council of State has decided to keep public policies in environmental matters under surveillance to encourage the State to achieve the objectives set”.