France Passes Climate Law, But Critics Say It’s Insufficient

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PARIS – France passed a comprehensive law to combat climate change On Tuesday, a series of bans, incentives and quotas were created for transport, housing and consumption aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions and waste, despite criticism from environmental groups that the measures were not ambitious enough.

The law is coming extreme weather events which has recently inflamed concerns about the impact of global warming in Europe. open one aggressive plan moving away from fossil fuels and countries like Germany and Belgium last week deadly flood triggering climate change to the top of the political agenda.

President Emmanuel Macron, who will run for election next year, has sought to put France at the forefront of tackling climate change.

However, his support for a “pragmatic ecology” made from small, concrete steps and paying attention to economic impacts has drawn criticism from left-wing politicians and environmental activists, who say their policies are too weak to make a real difference. Court decisions and reports from top expert organizations also warned that the government is not on the right track. Fulfilling France’s commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Jean-François Julliard, managing director of Greenpeace France, said the law did not comply with the “urgency of the situation”.

“This is a missed opportunity,” Mr. Julliard said at a small demonstration in Paris on Tuesday attended by about 30 activists.

The climate law was passed in final votes by the upper and lower houses of the French Parliament, after both houses agreed on a joint version of the bill earlier this month. The Senate, dominated by the right, passed the law with a majority of votes; The National Assembly, in which Macron’s party holds the majority, passed the bill with 233 votes in favor and 35 against.

The law is a mix of bans, financial incentives and other measures aimed at reducing waste, increasing energy efficiency and reducing carbon emissions in everyday life. Some will take effect immediately.

Among the changes: Landlords are no longer allowed to rent poorly insulated properties; disposable food packaging made of polystyrene will be banned from 2025; advertisements for fossil fuel energy such as gasoline will be phased out; and weekly vegetarian menus will become the norm in government-funded school cafeterias.

For journeys that can take less than 2.5 hours by train, domestic flights are prohibited unless they are connected to an international flight. Subsidies for drivers who trade a dirty car for a cleaner one have been expanded to include purchases of electric bikes. The law will also create low-emission zones in urban areas with a population of more than 150,000 by 2025, limiting the circulation of certain polluting vehicles.

Barbara Pompili, France’s minister for ecological transition, told lawmakers on Tuesday that the planet is “out of breath”, referring to the recent floods. Germany and Belgium as proof that “climate is turning into a threat”.

We are living in troubled and difficult times,” he said. But “our future belongs to us”, he added, describing the new law as a “cultural change” that will bring ecology directly into people’s lives.

Inspired by the law Citizens’ Climate Agreement, A panel of 150 randomly selected people from across the country tasked with formulating proposals that, with the help of experts, would balance ambitious climate legislation with economic justice.

Mr Macron convened congress last year After the Yellow Vests protests at the end of 2019When anger over the rising fuel tax snowballs into a wider and sometimes violent upheaval.

But environmental activists – and even some members of the citizens’ panel – complain that the final version of the climate bill falls short of the convention’s initial goals.

Environmental group activist Manon Castagné said: “In the context of climate disasters in Europe right now, this law is a deviation” Amis de la Terre, or Friends of the Earth, she said on the show.

The law allows regions to tax polluting activities of freight transport from 2024, but does not mandate them. And a tax on polluting nitrogen fertilizers used in agriculture will only be “assessed” if reduction targets are not met.

Earlier this month, the government also Plans to sanctify the fight against climate change have been abandoned A major setback for Mr Macron, who has designated this amendment to the French Constitution as the symbolic backbone of his environmental policies and promised to hold a referendum on the issue.

The Climate Supreme Council, an independent body, recently warned statement He said France’s efforts were “inadequate” with a commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent by 2030 – compared to 1990 levels – and failed to meet its Paris Agreement commitments. France’s top administrative court also recently gave the government a period of nine months take “all necessary steps” to meet emissions reduction targets or face potential financial penalties.

Léontine Gallois contributed to the reporting.

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