Climate Protesters Held Marches All Over France on Sunday

It’s spring in Paris, they are still struggling with COVID, and yet thousands of demonstrators took to the streets in Paris and numerous other French cities to protest climate change.  The French legislature is considering a law to impose tougher measures to combat climate change, but many believe the proposals are not sufficient and so they staged marches in Nancy, Toulouse, Rennes, Lyon, Grenoble, as seen in social media posts.  The bill that is pending currently includes, according to the Associated Press, a ban on domestic flights under two and half hours that can be done by train as well as support for renovating high energy-consuming buildings and encouraging cleaner cars.

Why This Matters:  Because of the Paris Agreement, France is associated with climate change progress.  But without stronger measures in place going forward, some will question its status as a leader and environmental organizations will continue to criticize President Macron.  The bill has passed the lower house of the French legislature, and Macron vows that it will remain unchanged, despite the fact that it is weaker than a set of proposals produced by a panel of 150 citizens who had worked for months on the issue.

How Does France Stack Up

France’s COVID rescue plan is $100 billion Euros ($122 billion USD) and fully a third of it will go to reducing greenhouse gas emission and protecting biodiversity.   Currently, France must meet the European Union’s 2030 targets to reduce greenhouse gases by at least 55 percent compared with 1990 levels. Last month, the EU increased its goal of being “climate neutral” by 2050.  Macron pushed for beefing up the EU’s 2030 targets to go well beyond the previous 40 percent target

A Constitutional Amendment Is Also Pending

According to the Associated Press, the French newspaper Journal du Dimanche reported Sunday that Macron is not currently able to deliver a promised vote in the legislature on whether to amend the French Constitution to include a requirement on environmental conservation.  The lower house, or National Assembly, where Macron holds a majority, largely approved the Amendment in March, but there is no agreement on it in the upper house of the legislature, where the conservative party holds a majority.  Macron vowed yesterday that the referendum bill “won’t be abandoned” and his office stated that the environment issue remains one of Macron’s priorities.  “The text will continue living its parliamentary life, which is the only way to get a referendum on condition senators and deputies agree,” Macron said, however, the process is still several steps away from a vote in parliament.

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