French parliament approves climate change bill to green the economy By Reuters

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© Reuters. A general view shows the hemicycle during the questions to the government session before a final vote on controversial climate change bill at the National Assembly in Paris, France, May 4, 2021. REUTERS/Sarah Meyssonnier

PARIS (Reuters) -France’s National Assembly on Tuesday approved a wide-ranging climate change bill that will prevent future airport expansions, prohibit open-air terrace heaters and reduce packaging waste.

France aims to cut greenhouse emissions by 40% by 2030 compared to 1990 levels but environmental activists say it is dragging its feet. In a landmark ruling in February, a court ruled France must do more to combat climate change.

After more than 200 hours of debate in parliamentary commissions and the lower house, lawmakers approved the bill by 332 to 77.

“Rather than big words and huge and unachievable objectives that only generate social resistance, we are putting in place effective measures,” Environment Minister Barbara Pompili told the chamber.

The legislation follows a months-long citizens consultation during which 150 members of the public drew up a list of dozens of measures to curb emissions.

Numerous participants criticised President Emmanuel Macron for diluting their ideas, but a year ahead of France’s presidential election, and with green parties performing well in several European countries, Macron hopes the bill will boost his environmental credentials.

Greenpeace said the legislation did not go far enough.

“It’s a law that might have been adequate 15 years ago, when the climate emergency was less pressing. In 2021, it will not be enough to effectively tackle global warming,” said Jean-Francois Julliard, head of Greenpeace France.

The bill now passes to the Senate before a final vote in the lower house.

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