“ Today, 2.3 million people have won. This decision ends the debate: no, the state is not doing enough to combat global warming ! “ Cécile Duflot, managing director of Oxfam France, one of the applicant associations, smiles at a press conference. On Wednesday 3 February, the Paris Administrative Court issued a historic decision. The court ordered the state to take “ all measures to achieve the objectives that France has set itself to reduce greenhouse gas emissions “, And this “ to stop the aggravation of the ecological damage observed for the future “.
- Decision of the administrative court of Paris
The Paris Administrative Court ordered the state to pay the four plaintiff organizations – Oxfam France, Notre affaires à tous, Fondation pour la nature et l’Homme and Greenpeace France – the sum of one euro each by way of damages. Instead, the requests for payment of a symbolic euro as compensation for ecological damage were rejected.
It concerns “ an “avant-dire droit” judgment, said attorney Arnaud Gossement on Twitter. The final judgment will be issued after a further two months of investigation. We have to wait until 2is judgment to know if it will be “historical” “. The associations asked the court to order the state to take concrete measures to combat climate change. For the court “ the state of the investigations does not allow (…) to determine precisely the measures that must be disposed to the State for this purpose “. The court then leaves two months for the competent ministers to take action “ comments not communicated “ during the investigation and prove that he acts. For Cécile Duflot, “ a new two-month debate opens on the state injunction to act. The court cannot replace him, but it can push him to act, in particular by decrees, circulars or draft laws. “.
The conclusions of the administrative court of Paris however go beyond the requests of the public rapporteur. During the hearing, he had already noticed “ the inability of the state to adopt binding public measures “, from which it appears “ an annual surplus of greenhouse gas emissions which aggravates the ecological damage “. The presentation of its conclusions was largely supported by scientific data, in particular the latest reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Failure to respect the path that the State has set itself, transcribed by the National Low Carbon Strategy (SNBC), weighed heavily in his recommendation.
If the State decides to appeal the sentence, the case will be brought before the Administrative Court of Appeal of Paris. “ An appeal is possible, but it would be a rather disastrous signal from the state, knowing that the court has recognized its shortcomings in the fight against global warming “, Greenpeace lawyer Clément Capdebos believes.
In any case, this is a first victory for the organizations requesting the Affair of the Century, launched on December 17, 2018. The associations have therefore sent a preventive request for compensation – an obligatory step before any judicial procedure – to several ministers, including the then Prime Minister, Édouard Philippe. “ This letter demonstrated the state’s inaction and demanded compensation for the ecological and moral damage caused by this inaction. “, Said Célia Gautier Reporter, at the beginning of January. The state then had two months to respond.
At the same time, a petition in support of the Affair of the Century had collected more than a million signatures in less than 48 hours and passed the two million mark in less than three weeks, becoming the most massive online mobilization in the history of the France. “ The pressure from society was such that it became impossible and unsustainable for the government not to make an effort to respond to us, continued the CEO of Greenpeace. Édouard Philippe and François de Rugy, then Minister of Ecology, received us to explain the “Difference in the philosophical vision” that separated us. They told us they were doing their part, that the citizens had to do theirs. “
However, under the pressure of the petition, the government rejected the previous claim for compensation NGO. On 14 March 2019, following this rejection, the four applicant organizations filed an appeal “ in the middle of a dispute “ before the administrative court of Paris, completed two months later by a memorandum that collects all their arguments.
On June 23, 2020, when the deadline expired, the State responded to the Affair of the Century by filing a forty-page defense. On September 3, 2020, the organizations responded with a response memorandum by attaching about a hundred testimonies from victims of the climate crisis.
The administrative court closed the investigation on October 9, 2020 and had set the hearing for Thursday January 14, a hearing during which the lawyers of the associations and the state were able to defend. The co-applicants expressed their relief a Reporter. “ This decision shows that civic action through the law can make it possible to change things and fight global warming, said Arié Alimi, lawyer ofNGO Oxfam France. This decision also opens the door to other legal actions. “
source : Justin Carrette and Alexandre-Reza Kokabi for Reporter
. chapô: climate walk on Saturday 8 September 2018 in Paris. © Fanny Dollberg /Reporter
. Twitter account The Affair of the Century