Climate change

French MPs start debating climate change bill in National Assembly

Jean-Luc Mélenchon was among several members of the National Assembly who hit out at the government's bill aimed at reducing greehouse gas emissions.
Jean-Luc Mélenchon was among several members of the National Assembly who hit out at the government's bill aimed at reducing greehouse gas emissions. AFP - LUDOVIC MARIN

French MPs on Monday launched a three-week debate of the controversial climate and resilience bill which is aimed at cutting carbon emissions by 40 percent of 1990 levels by 2030.

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The draft law contains the work by 150 randomly selected French citizens who made more than 100 proposals to fight global warming.

But critics claim the bill has excluded some of the suggestions.

On Sunday, environmental groups organised demonstrations throughout France to call on MPs to adopt what they say is a robust law to tackle the problems.

“All the scientists and groups say that the bill which the government is proposing is falling short,” said Tom Baquerre, co president of Combat Monsanto Green Group during a protest in Paris.

"It would not allow us to reach the Paris Agreement goals. We need to put pressure on the lawmakers so they propose amendments which would make that bill more ambitious. It is currently far from being so.”

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Nearly 7,000 amendments will be analysed during the sessions at the National Assembly in Paris.

Ecologist party MPs have complained that the bill was robbed of its potency before it reached the main debate. 

“The government continues to turn a deaf ear to its citizens,” Maine-et-Loire MP Matthieu Orphelin told RFI.

“All the experts who are interested in this draft bill say it is not up to scratch. I don’t hold out much hope that the government will relent on certain issues but I will continue to fight.”

Jean-Luc Mélenchon of the opposition La France Insoumise party has called for the entire bill to be rejected because it did not address the measures needed to hit the targets.

But government MP Jean-René Cazeneuve rejected Mélenchon's criticism.

"In this law there are dozens and dozens of concrete measures," he said. "Each one of them deserves to be discussed, each one of them deserves to be voted on."

 

"On this text, more than ever, the national assembly is a recording chamber," said the Socialist party MP Guillaume Garot.

"French people are fed up with the permanent self-satisfaction of the government who claim to have done everything right," he told MPs. "And this applies to ecology as well as to public health." 

Barbara Pompili, the ecological transition minister, says that once it becomes law, the Climate and Resilience Act will put ecology at the heart of French life.

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