What happens if a State does not fulfill its commitments in the fight against climate change? Until now, everything was left to the judgment of the citizens at the polls. From now on and according to the judgment of the Administrative Court of Paris, he is considered “responsible for part of the damage found.And so? Beyond the symbolic euro for “moral damage”, the Government has a deadline to answer what it is doing. We will see later. The four plaintiff NGOs, grouped under the name of the case of the century, considered the ruling “a historic victory for the climate.

They are Notre Affaire a Tous, Greenpeace, Oxfam, and the Nicolas Hulot Foundation, who was a minister in the first cabinet of Edouard Philippe, under the presidency of Emmanuel Macron and slammed the door. To compensate for his departure, the president pulled out of his hat a Convention of 150 citizens chosen by lottery. Your proposals must now be converted into laws or administrative orders. There is a precedent in the Netherlands. The Urgenda Foundation filed a lawsuit against the Government in 2013 “for not having adopted sufficient measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions”, demanding that the Government take measures to reduce emissions by between 25% and 40%, between that time. year and 2020 (relative to 1990 levels).

In June 2015, the District Court of The Hague ruled in favor of Urgenda, a decision that was confirmed in October 2018 by the Court of Appeal of The Hague, based on proven scientific facts and the old principle of due diligence of all government. From now on, Dutch carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions should be reduced to at least a 25% decrease by the end of 2020. That ruling in what is considered the world’s first trial on climate liability has subsequently inspired similar lawsuits in many countries. For example, in Spain, where Ecologistas en Acción, Greenpeace, and Oxfam Intermón filed a contentious-administrative appeal for “climate inactivity” on September 15, which was admitted by the Supreme Court on September 30. The Paris ruling strengthens their arguments. “It is a warning to the rest of the European governments that, like that of Spain, are facing lawsuits for this cause,” the Spanish plaintiffs said in a statement on Wednesday.

The French case still has a judicial journey. The ruling says. Because of the commitments it had adopted and which it has not respected in its first coal plan, the State must be held responsible for part of the ecological damage found. France has adopted it since 2015, under the presidency of Francois Hollande, “national carbon reduction strategies”. With annual emission reduction targets systematically exceeded (4% between 2015 and 2018). Emissions fell by 0.9% between 2018 and 2019 when the rhythm had to be 1.5% per year and 3.2% from 2025 to reach neutrality in 2050.

The judges of the Parisian court give the executive two months to communicate what actions it will take. Follow in the footsteps of the State Council that (in November) gave a three-month deadline. Therefore the government of Jean Castex must respond before to the highest French administrative magistracy. It will then decide whether, as requested by the NGOs, it orders the State to take action.The Paris court sentenced the French state to a symbolic euro for “moral damage” but refused to impose the same penalty for “ecological damage” because the plaintiffs did not present a “serious assessment”.