French Parliament to vote new climate law criticised by green groups

PARIS (AFP) – The French Parliament is set to vote through a new climate change law intended by French President Emmanuel Macron to reinforce his green credentials one year ahead of national elections.

The draft legislation is almost certain to be approved in a first reading by the Lower House of Parliament, where Macron has a working majority, but it has been heavily criticised by environmental groups.

Measures include bans on domestic flights under two-and-half hours that can be done by train, restrictions on renting badly insulated properties, or the creation of a new “ecocide” crime to punish polluters. The overall aim is to put in place measures that will enable France to meet its target of reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 40 per cent compared with 1990 levels by a deadline of 2030.

Lobby groups such as Greenpeace have called it a “lost opportunity of Macron’s term”, while even the president’s own environmental advisory council said it would “have a potentially limited impact”. It is also less ambitious than new targets for 55 per cent cuts agreed at the European Union (EU) level and falls short of a German plan which was rejected last week by the country’s constitutional court as “insufficient”.

General view of the French Parliament during a debate on the new COVID-19 measures at the National Assembly in Paris. PHOTO: AP