Top court orders French govt to take more climate steps

France's top administrative court on Wednesday ordered the government for a second time to reduce greenhouse gas emissions within a year, in a case brought by a town threatened by rising sea levels.

Top court orders French govt to take more climate steps
The town of Dunkirk argued that it faces increased risks of flooding because of the climate crisis. Photo by DENIS CHARLET / AFP

“The State Council today orders the government to take new measures by June 30th, 2024 and to send an interim report laying out these measures and their effectiveness by December 31st,” the judges said.

The mayor of Grande-Synthe, a suburb of Dunkirk in northern France, brought the case for “inaction on climate” in 2019, saying that the coastal town was in danger of being submerged.

Judges first ordered the government in 2021 to reduce greenhouse emissions by 40 percent compared with 1990 levels by 2030 – in line with the Paris Agreement.

But an official charged with evaluating the changes told them last month that he did not believe ministers had done enough.

“Additional measures have indeed been taken and reflect the government’s will to execute the (court) decision,” judges said Wednesday.

Nevertheless, “it is still not guaranteed with sufficient credibility that the trajectory of greenhouse gas emissions reduction can effectively be kept up,” they added.

The city of Paris as well as campaign groups like Greenpeace and Oxfam are also parties to the case.

Although the court has required new measures of the government, judges on Wednesday stopped short of ordering financial penalties should the state fail to comply.

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France braces for more record-breaking hot weather on Monday

After an exceptionally warm start to October, forecasters warn that France is in for another day of record-breaking heat.

France braces for more record-breaking hot weather on Monday

Heat records were broken across France on Sunday, according to France’s national weather forecaster, Météo France, and more are expected to be broke on Monday as the country contends with exceptionally warm weather for the start of October.

Temperatures ranging from 32C to 34C are expected in much of the centre and south-west of the country, while parts of southern France, namely in Béarn in the Pyrénées-Atlantiques département, could see the mercury rise up to 36C.

North-western France is forecast to remain cooler than the rest of the country, with maximum temperatures expected around 25C.

The majority of the country is expected to see temperatures at least 7C above seasonal norms, with central France looking at a difference of 12C to 14C in predicted temperatures for Monday versus seasonal averages.

How long will the heat last?

Forecasters expect temperatures to drop down on Tuesday, as a cool air mass moves in from the Atlantic.

Later in the week, temperatures are expected to begin warming up again.

The hot Monday came after a particularly warm weekend, where some highs across the country were 10C above averages expected for this time of year, according to Météo France cited by Le Parisien, who had predicted that a ‘dome of heat’ would settle over France on Sunday and Monday.

On Sunday, Météo France found that a ‘string of records’ were broken for hottest temperatures recorded on October 1st. Aix-en-Provence reached a record high (for the month of October) of 31C,  while Poitiers reached 31.2C, Bordeaux recorded 32.5C and Toulouse recorded 33C.

The warm temperatures also come after France’s hottest September ever recorded, which saw an average countrywide temperature 21.5C.

READ MORE: September 2023 to be France’s hottest September ever