French climate law takes first hurdle in parliament

The climate law of French President Macron has taken a first hurdle in parliament. A large majority of the lower house has agreed to the law, which must, among other things, prevent the expansion of airports, put an end to patio heaters and fight against packaging waste. The French aim is to reduce emissions by 40% by 2030 compared with 1990.

โ€œ Instead of big words and huge and unachievable targets that only provoke resistance, we are taking effective measures,โ€ said the Environment Minister to Parliament. The French Senate has to agree now, and it is expected that this will happen.

Less meat, more sustainable homes

Among other things, the bill states that state schools must offer at least one day a week a menu without meat or fish. The number of domestic flights must be drastically reduced, and the sale of cars emitting more than 95 grams of CO2 per kilometre will be banned in nine years time. Furthermore, from 2025, housing owners will no longer be allowed to rent out poorly insulated houses.

The law also states that ecocide becomes a criminal offence. This means that people who pollute the environment can be persecuted for it.

Missed opportunity

The bill was dealt with for more than 200 hours in the French House of Commons. 332 parliamentarians finally voted in favour, 77 against. Environmental clubs criticized the plans. They believe that the measures do not go far enough and point out that the French target is lower than the European Unions target, namely 55% reduction in emissions by 2030 compared with 1990.

Greenpeace speaks of a missed opportunity, because Macron advisers themselves say that the proposal will have possible but limited impact. In addition, at the beginning of February, a French judge ruled that the governments climate policy was inadequate.