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Over 100 NGOs criticise France's 'lack of ambition' over draft climate bill

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By Euronews
France's President Emmanuel Macron attends to the Citizens' Convention on Climate, in Paris, Dec. 14 2020.
France's President Emmanuel Macron attends to the Citizens' Convention on Climate, in Paris, Dec. 14 2020.   -   Copyright  AP Photo/Thibault Camus
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More than 100 NGOs have criticised the French government's proposed climate law for setting the bar too low.

In an open letter to President Emmanuel Macron published on Monday, 110 NGOs including Greenpeace, WWF, ActionAid and Friends of the Earth, deplore the draft law's "lack of ambition".

The bill, which is to be presented to ministers during the weekly Cabinet meeting on Wednesday, is based on a report from a citizens' assembly which outlined 149 recommendations to combat the climate crisis.

These included making "ecocide" an offence punishable by law, forcing landlords to make their buildings more energy-efficient, phasing out coal and oil boilers by the end of the decade and increasing organic farming.

"While the citizens' proposals were to be enshrined in law, it has to be said that this is not the case," the NGOs wrote of the draft law.

"Mr President, by reducing the ambition of the measures proposed by the Citizens' Convention on Climate Change, you are depriving our country of a formidable potential for overcoming the climate, health, economic and social crises," they added.

They also flagged that impact analysis shows that the proposals from the citizens' assembly "will not, as they stand, make it possible to meet the objective of a 40 per cent reduction in emissions by 2030."

"This is despite the fact that this target is already insufficient in itself, given the new target of -55 per cent adopted last December at the European level," they wrote.

The warning from NGOs comes just days after a court ruled that the French state is guilty of climate inaction and has not done enough to meets its mandated goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The ruling is largely symbolic but increases the pressure on lawmakers to focus on mitigating the impact of climate change as it opens the door for direct victims of climate change in the country to seek compensation from the government.