It seems courts in some countries are now in effect regarding as proven something that is not proven, namely that rises in Earth’s meagre 0.04% atmospheric carbon dioxide content will necessarily cause serious problems requiring urgent governmental action – whatever that may be – to ‘tackle’ the situation. Not only is this not proven, but science was arguing against such theories as far back as 1900, and continues to do so in various quarters today. The upshot is that, in these countries at least, governments have lumbered themselves with the legal duty of trying to reduce Earth’s average temperature, on pain of being found in contempt of court (or some such charge) for not trying hard enough, or at all. Not what President Macron would have had in mind when he strutted the stage at his notorious 2015 Paris climate summit.
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France’s top administrative court has given the government a three-month deadline to show it is taking action to meet its commitments on global warming, reports Yahoo News with AFP.
The Council of State, which rules on disputes over public policies, said that “while France has committed itself to reducing its emissions by 40 percent by 2030 compared to 1990 levels, it has, in recent years, regularly exceeded the ‘carbon budgets’ it had set itself.”
It also noted that President Emmanuel Macron’s government had, in an April decree, at the height of the first wave of Covid-19 infections, deferred much of the reduction effort beyond 2020.
The French government, which brokered the landmark COP21 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change, was hauled before the Council of State by Grande-Synthe, a northern coastal town that is particularly exposed to the effects of climate change.
In January 2019, Damien Careme, the mayor of Grande-Synthe, petitioned the Council of State, complaining about what he called the government’s “climate inaction”. Careme said his town of 23,000 people, which is built on land reclaimed from the sea, risked being flooded by rising ocean levels.
The town’s case was backed by the cities of Paris and Grenoble, as well as by several environmental NGOs including Oxfam France and Greenpeace France.
Three months to justify action
Before issuing a final ruling on the matter, the council gave the government three months to justify “how its refusal to take additional measures is compatible with respect to . . . the targets set for 2030.”
Corinne Lepage, a former environment minister and a lawyer for the town of Grande-Synthe, hailed the decision as “historic”. The ruling means that “policies must be more than nice commitments on paper,” she said.
Full report here.
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