France

Climate law: final adoption in sight on Tuesday, despite doubts and criticism – France



This Tuesday afternoon, the Senate and the Assembly will successively vote on the climate law, a dense text inspired by the work of the Citizen’s Climate Convention. A compromise was found between the two chambers after long night negotiations a week ago.

According to the Minister of Ecological Transition, Barbara Pompili, this law represents a “global cultural shift”, “an ecology” of “common sense” and “everyday life” thanks to measures such as the removal of domestic airlines in the event of alternatives by train of less than 2 hours 30 minutes, or the ban on the rental of “thermal strainers”, G and F classified accommodation, in 2025 and 2028.

An event planned around the Assembly

Members of the Citizens’ Convention and environmental NGOs point out the “unraveling” of their proposals. Marches for “a real climate law” have been organized in recent months, and a new demonstration is scheduled for Tuesday near the Assembly.

Presented in early 2021, the bill reflects part of the 146 proposals of the Convention that Emmanuel Macron had retained. The constitutional aspect, in order to engrave the climate in the Fundamental Law by referendum, has been abandoned for lack of agreement between the two chambers.

Doubts about its effectiveness

Associated with other laws and the recovery plan, this climate bill “allows” France “to move towards the objective of -40%” of greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 compared to 1990, we assure the Ministry of Ecological Transition, which is counting on rapid promulgation. But the High Council for the Climate, an independent body, and the Council of State, the highest French administrative court, express serious doubts about the capacity of the State to respect its commitments of the Paris Agreement of 2015.

The Council of State left him nine months to take “all the necessary measures”. And the state is threatened with a fine of 10 million euros per semester if it does not do more in the fight against air pollution.

Especially since the French trajectory should be even more demanding, with the new climate package unveiled by the European Union. The Commission, which aims to reduce the continent’s emissions by 55% in 2030 compared to 1990, calls for a ban on the sale of thermal vehicles from 2035, while a French law of 2019 aims for 2040.

Criticized on the left as well as on the right

In the meantime, the French bill has already given rise to numerous showdowns with the sectors or between parliamentarians. Against a “punitive ecology”, the senatorial right has scrapped to the end in an attempt to delay the deployment in 2025 of low-emission zones, without polluting vehicles, in towns with more than 150,000 inhabitants.

Senators have stepped up certain aspects such as advertising, with the 2028 ban on advertising for the most polluting vehicles, in order to prepare consumers for the end of their marketing.

There have been no miracles and the law remains far removed from climate goals and citizens’ expectations

Marked by the “yellow vests” movement, born from a fuel tax, the government has regularly stressed the need to combine “ecological ambition” and “social acceptability”. The possible implementation of a heavy goods vehicle eco-tax will be limited to voluntary regions, or even border regions such as Alsace. On the agricultural side, a tax on nitrogenous fertilizers is only “considered” if the emission reduction targets are not met.

Overall, in the eyes of WWF France, “there have been no miracles and the law remains very far from the climate objectives and citizens’ expectations”. The left and environmentalists have relayed these criticisms. On the right, the LR were concerned about the proliferation of “taxes” or a “judicialization” of environmental issues, opposing in particular the offense of “ecocide” provided for in the law.

The text will be voted on a few days after deadly bad weather in Germany and Belgium, and three weeks after a record heat in Canada… Events presented by many experts as manifestations of climatic upheavals.

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