France - Climate Change

French Senate blocks referendum on climate change

The French Senate has rejected a proposal to hold a referendum on enshrining the fight against climate change in the French constitution
The French Senate has rejected a proposal to hold a referendum on enshrining the fight against climate change in the French constitution © AFP

The French Senate has voted to block a referendum promised by President Emmanuel Macron on whether to enshrine the fight against climate change in the French constitution.

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Monday's decision by the Senate effectively puts a end to President Macron's pledge to organise such a vote in response to criticism that he has not done enough to protect the planet.

The Senate, the French legislature's upper house, is dominated by the opposition conservatives.

Last May, it watered down draft legislation requiring the constitution to "guarantee" the fight against climate change, preferring less binding wording.

Right-wing lawmakers had expressed concerns that a state guarantee might become an obstacle to innovation and French business interests.

Centrist senators slam move as "irresponsible"

A group of centrist senators linked to Macron's LREM party said in a statement on Monday that the senate's vote definitively closes the door on holding a referendum.

"The conservatives in the Senate fail to understand the importance of environmental issues," the RDPI group said.

The group also posted on Twitter that Monday's decision "illustrates the irresponsibility of the senatorial right on environmental issues."

The clause's original wording had been proposed by a panel of 150 citizens established by Macron to draw up policy proposals for battling climate change.

A referendum in France requires that both the lower and upper house be in agreement.

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