Consequently, discussions on the first reading of the Climate and Resilience Act ended in the National Assembly on Saturday with the chapter on environmental justice, and unfortunately did not allow for significant improvements to be made to the entire text.
This long-awaited law is achieving a milestone in winning the consensus of civil society against it, and it will not make it possible to break the climate inaction sanctioned by justice in the cause of the century.
“That law would have seemed ambitious 15 or 20 years ago, but today it is not due to the climate emergency. The environment of everyday life that Minister Barbara Pompeii has praised is not enough. We need the environment of tomorrow, an environment that will assume its responsibilities and help slow the infernal cycle of climate change.Jean-Francois Julliard, Director-General of Greenpeace France, confirms.
“Discussions in the council revealed the extent to which the parliamentary majority, the government and Emmanuel Macron had stood by the warnings of scholars and civil society. Only profound transitions, accompanied by real political courage to implement them, can truly put us back on a path that aligns with the goals of the Paris Agreement.“.
After the government cornered the benefits of the law it presented to the association, it attempted to convert by taking over the MIT Technology Review’s “Green Future Index” rating as France ranked fourth, while the methodology takes into account states’ obligations, not outcomes.
“The government is so uncomfortable with its text that it has used various tricks to curtail discussions as much as possible, such as limiting discussions to 45 hours or judging a quarter of the amendments submitted are unacceptable, and denying MPs the possibility to further the parliament’s ambition. LawJean-Francois Julliard adds.
In its current form, this law will allow no more than measures taken elsewhere to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40% by 2030, and even less to achieve the new European goal (a 55% reduction in greenhouse gases). While science recommends a 65% reduction. A recent study by Carbone 4 concluded that measures adopted or envisaged by the state, particularly within the framework of climate law and resilience, will not make it possible to achieve the overall goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions in 2030 compared to 1990.
To remedy the situation, senators will have to review the text substantially under penalty of a law unable to respond to climate and social emergencies, as well as the country’s official goals.
Aside from some hard-won progress in introducing more vegetarian menus into communal restaurants, and progress made as part of a campaign carried out for more than three years by civil society and consumers, no major change can be observed in other restructuring chapters, MPs are satisfied. Most of the time when adopting modifications, their effect will be superficial:
The approved proposal to ban domestic flights only when the alternative of less than two and a half hours by train concerns only a few domestic flights at best, which could lead to a slight reduction in emissions from the sector.
Regarding the airport extension component, despite the ambitious amendments to strengthen the current article, coming from the various political groups that have defended it, including LREM deputies, the article has not undergone any major changes and thus remains ineffective in banning airport extension projects … While that is what it claims to do.
- Consumption / Production
The ban on commercial advertising of fossil fuels, that is, the most polluting goods and services (energy, carbon-dependent transport) demanded by the Customs Cooperation Council has been transformed into a ban on advertising the sale of fossil fuels (almost non-existent today), through adjustments to marketing and promotion, Which will have no effect whatsoever on truly changing consumer habits, as well as tougher penalties in the case of greenwashing.
Instead, the text provides for climate contracts that are vague and arbitrary voluntary commitments by manufacturers, who thus become judge and party, making the transition optional. Especially since no strong control or any deterrent penalty is preserved in the event of default on these obligations.
It has been announced that not all amendments that have been introduced to regulate greenhouse gas emissions of large companies will be accepted even though the reasons for the bill stipulate the goal of “moving our production models so that they are carbon-free.” […] By strengthening the supervision of industrial activities. “
The Homeland Security Climate, which allowed the tax controversy to be put on the table, was rejected by a special committee.
While the Climate and Energy Act, passed in 2019, declared the end of energy refineries, in 2028, this was not the case: only 2 out of 5 million refinery homes in France (the F&G Energy Performance Threshold) are affected by the gradual ban on rents by 2028. Worse still, to force owners to renew their properties, tenants in an precarious situation will have to take legal action themselves!
There has been no change to the model of renewal strategy: the government essentially persisted in a motivational logic of small gestures as evidenced by a lack of commitment to effective renewal.
There is no definition of effective renewal kept on the bill (which would allow home renovations up to energy class C to take advantage of large public subsidies rather than focus on truly effective renovations), nor the lack of a long-term vision beyond 2034 (when it will be banned) E-Class Housing Rental) should not compensate for the sector’s long delays in decarbonizing.
The 2050 target of an average “low consumption building” of the entire building stock is moving further and further away, putting France’s goal of carbon neutrality in jeopardy.
This is one of the rare developments in the text that could be improved on this issue.
At the end of the discussions, the deputies adopted a mandatory daily vegetarian option on January 1, 2023 in the establishments and collective catering services under the responsibility of the state that already offer multiple options (state administrative services, CROUS, armies, prisons, hospitals, national companies of the SNCF type) and approved the vegan menu Weekly, set up on a trial basis according to the EGAlim Act in 2018, for public and private school canteens. It was also voted to develop culinary training guidelines to include the health and environmental benefits of protein diversification.
However, the material voted has a major drawback: local authorities are not affected by the obligations. Despite the determination of some MPs, college and high school students will only be able to access vegan options when their managers so decide.
But to go ahead and really respond to the environmental emergency, it’s all about group dining, both public and private, which should provide a daily vegetarian option, plus two weekly vegetarian menus for all guests.
Finally, on this first reading, Parliament approved the creation of new crimes whose stated aim was to better suppress and prevent environmental damage.
Also on this topic, most of the proposals for amendment by environmental associations have been rejected.
The creation of the environmental crime of genocide, propounded by the government, is an illusion. In fact, the government only cares about reassuring industrialists and government agencies, that the detained crimes, which will depend on the work of the administration, will be impractical until civil society can effectively seize them.
Faced with industrial risks, which require them to prove their immediate nature or even environmental damage that lasts for at least 10 years, it actually constitutes a blank check for polluters not ready for court interrogation.
France’s Greenpeace has also supported the creation of a procedure to allow civil society to effectively access environmental information. Transparency and information are the basis of our democracy, and the rejection of this amendment clearly demonstrates the government’s desire to preserve private interests in defiance of the public interest.