The top administrative court in France, the Council of State, gave the French government three months Thursday to show progress towards meeting its climate change commitments under the Paris climate accord. Under the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement and the Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), France and other EU members have targeted reduction rates for greenhouse gas emissions. The EU pledged to reduce its 1990 levels by 30 percent by 2030. Under the UNFCCC, France has a target of 37 percent reduction by 2030. Additionally, France has passed a national law to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent by 2030.
This most recent ruling stems from a complaint by Grande-Synthe, a city in northern France, that reached the Council. Grande-Synthe requested additional measures from the federal government to combat global warming in 2018 but received a rejection. Grande-Synthe was supported by other cities such as Paris and Grenoble. In its decision, the Council determined that the complaint was admissible. Grande-Synthe is particularly vulnerable to flooding that results from rising ocean levels.
France’s High Council on Climate has reported that the country’s emissions dropped only 0.9 percent in 2019; the current projected yearly reduction is three percent from 2025 on if the country reaches its target. Many of the measures that were supposed to be implemented have since been halted by the French government.
Climate change activists view the ruling as a major win for the fight against global warming.