Unprecedent decision of the French Council of State
On 19 November 2020, the French Council of State handed down an unprecedent decision in the fight against climate change, requiring the French State to justify its policy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The Administrative Court has just declared admissible the action brought by a French coastal municipality which considers itself vulnerable to the effects of climate change against the State’s refusal to take additional measures to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions.
If the Council of State declares that it has no competence to impose the adoption of legislative measures, it nevertheless gives the State three months to justify the compatibility of its actions with its climate objectives for 2030.
This decision is unprecedent as, by not dismissing the request and asking the French State to justify its climate policy, the Council of State recognises that it is competent not only to examine the measures taken but also to impose the adoption of new measures if it considers them insufficient, without determining their form and content.
In doing so, the jurisdiction not only recognises the binding nature of climate commitments but also emphasises that these commitments imply real obligations of results for the State.
Following the Urgenda case (The Hague, 2018), the French court is finally facing the principle of the separation of powers and gives itself the means to leave its mark on climate justice.
Author : Frédérick Garot (firstname.lastname@example.org)Share