France’s highest administrative judge has imposed a climate deadline on President Emmanuel Macron’s government. The government will be given three months to demonstrate that sufficient action is being taken to achieve the climate goals.
France played an important role in the realization of the Paris climate agreement in 2015. However, the Council of State (Conseil d’Etat) ruled that the French government has repeatedly missed its own climate targets and has postponed measures.
The judge has not yet made a final judgment, but does not rule out that the government will be instructed to come up with additional measures. Activists are already talking about a “historic” statement because the Council of State has made it clear that climate agreements are not without obligation.
The proceedings were brought by the northern town of Grande-Synthe, which, according to local authorities, is threatened by rising sea levels. The lawyer for that place, former minister Corinne Lepage, concludes that the court’s ruling means that “policy should be more than beautiful promises on a piece of paper”.
Lawsuits have also been brought in other countries to force governments to comply with climate agreements. In the Netherlands, this led to Urgenda’s much-discussed climate case. The judge then decided that CO2 emissions must be reduced.