Climate activists file lawsuit against French PM, ministers

18 June, 2021 12:00 AM printer

PARIS: Environmental campaigners on Wednesday launched a legal case against the French premier and four ministers for failing to act against climate change, part of a wave of litigation on the issue, reports AFP.

Pierre Larrouturou, a member of the European Parliament, and activists Cyril Dion and Camille Etienne filed the complaint against Jean Castex and the four ministers in the Law Court of the Republic, a special body to try government ministers for misconduct while in office.

“We see every day how the climate crisis is getting worse. The monster is escaping its creators,” Larrouturou told AFP.

“The ministers don’t really care because they don’t feel directly affected,” he said.

Governments and companies are being increasingly targeted over their action—or inaction—related to climate change.

More than 1,800 such cases have been filed over the past 25 years, most of them since 2010, according to a global database maintained by the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia Law School in New York. There have been 381 cases against governments outside the US, the database shows.

Activists are turning to litigation as a more effective way of targeting governments.

“It’s one of the most effective non-violent strategies, even if it takes a long time,” Dion said.

The court case is aimed at forcing ministers to revisit the Climate and Resilience Bill, adopted by lawmakers at its first reading in May, according to the complaint, a copy of which was seen by AFP.

The aim of the plaintiffs is not to “cut off heads” or send ministers to prison, but “to push them into action” before the final passage of the law, Larrouturou said.

This is why only members of the current government are targeted.

“If it succeeds, it would also have the virtue of making politicians think about the future,” Dion said.

In a decision considered historic by NGOs, the administrative court of Paris ruled early this year that the state was “responsible” for failures to fight against global warming.

In addition to Castex, the complaint targets Economy and Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire, Minister for Ecological Transition Barbara Pompili, Transport Minister Jean-Baptiste Djebbari and Housing Minister Emmanuelle Wargon.

 


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