Global warming

French take to streets to call for revamped climate law

FILE - In this Dec. 16, 2009 file photo, steam and smoke rise from a coal burning power plant in Gelsenkirchen, Germany. A United Nations report on rising greenhouse gas emissions reminded world governments Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2012 that their efforts to fight climate change are far from enough to meet their stated goal of limiting global warming to 2 degrees C (3.6 F). (AP Photo/Martin Meissner, File)
FILE - In this Dec. 16, 2009 file photo, steam and smoke rise from a coal burning power plant in Gelsenkirchen, Germany. A United Nations report on rising greenhouse gas emissions reminded world governments Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2012 that their efforts to fight climate change are far from enough to meet their stated goal of limiting global warming to 2 degrees C (3.6 F). (AP Photo/Martin Meissner, File) AP - Martin Meissner

Thousands of people have demonstrated across France to demand "real climate legislation". Some 180 demonstrations took place in several cities on the eve of a meeting by parliament to discuss a legal text to tackle climate change.

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Dozens of NGOs, labour unions and political parties called for Sunday's demonstrations to urge MPs to improve the text of the Citizen's Climate Convention, which was slammed as lacking ambition after the final session earlier in March.

Several delegates took part in the demonstrations, notably the leader of the far-left France Unbowed Jean-Luc Mélenchon, Delphine Batho, president of Génération Écologique, a small green party, and former delegate for President Emmanuel Macron's LREM party Cédric Villani.

Race against time

The law to be discussed by parliament aims at reducing greenhouse emissions by 40 percent by 2030.

Many members of the Citizen's Climate Convention, set up as part of Macron's participatory democracy project, took part in the demonstrations.

"On climate issues, negotiation is not possible. It's a race against time," said activist Cyril Dion, who worries that France will never "reach its objectives" of reducing emissions.

Concrete changes

Ecological transition minister Barbara Pompili defended the text, telling France Inter radio that was one of the most important laws of Macron's first term in office, which will bring "concrete changes to the lives of the French".

She welcomed Sunday's demonstrations and said it was a positive that climate issues continued to be a major concern among the public.

"It is an extremely important gathering that appeals to the government," Yannic Jadot, a member of the European Parliament for the Ecologie-Les-Verts (Greens) party, told BFMTV, adding that environmental issues may be "at the heart" of the 2022 presidential elections.

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