PRESS RELEASE / Two million signatures in support of French climate litigation « Case of the Century »

Paris, 11 January 2019 — One month after its launch, “The Case of the Century” (“L’Affaire du Siècle”), the legal action against the French State brought by NGOs Notre Affaire à tous, Fondation pour la Nature et l’Homme, Greenpeace France and Oxfam France with the support of youtubers and several French VIPs, has just made history as it reached a historical two million supporters.

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(Screenshot made on Jan. 11 at 11:00 CET)

French people have responded to this call en masse, by far surpassing previous records, and especially the petition calling for a reduction of fuel prices launched earlier this year by a now-prominent figure in the “gilets jaunes” (“yellow vests”) movement (under 1,2 million signatures). 

The call to support the “Case of the Century”, which is primarily aimed at French citizens, got a big boost from two Youtubers’ collectives, « Il est encore temps » (“There is still time”) and “On est prêt” (“We are ready”): the video they made in support of the case has been viewed over 14 million times since December 18 across Facebook and YouTube.

The organisations now expect the French Prime Minister to provide a response commensurate with this exceptional mobilisation and the climate emergency. They remain committed to move on to the 2nd stage this spring, by bringing this action for climate inaction before the Paris Administrative Court, and are preparing mobilisation meetings for the signatory citizens.

A growing concern, reflected in the largest online mobilisation ever recorded in France

By supporting “The Case of the Century”, more than two million citizens have expressed their hope that things will change, and supported the request made to the government to put an end to France’s climate inaction over the past several decades.

This mobilisation reflects the growing concern among citizens about climate and environmental issues, at a time when the urgency is clear, and the impacts are already visible in France and around the world. In the same week as the launch of “The Case of the Century”, the French weather forecast agency Météo-France announced that 2018 had been the warmest year on record in France since weather surveys began in 1900, with 9 consecutive months of above-average temperatures.

A government in denial 

Ministers François de Rugy and Brune Poirson, for their part avoided the heart of the subject, i.e., the State’s responsibility in failing to respect France’s commitments to fight climate change and protect its population over the past 40 years.

The Minister of Ecological and Solidary Transition even preferred to criticise the legal approach by explaining that « it is not in a court of law that greenhouse gas emissions will be reduced ». This overlooks the recent injunction issued by a judge in the Netherlands, calling the government to increase its targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 25% by 2020 (instead of the planned 17%).

France, which falls short of fulfilling its climate commitments, and which has itself acknowledged that its own greenhouse gas emission reduction targets have been exceeded, could well be condemned by a judge.

To date, the Government has not responded on the substance of the shortcomings alleged by the 4 organisations. It has until February 19 to do so.

Media contacts:

Fondation pour la Nature et l’Homme : Manuela Lorand

06 98 45 46 91 / m.lorand@fnh.org

Greenpeace France : Magali Rubino

07 78 41 78 78 / magali.rubino@greenpeace.org

Oxfam France : Caroline Prak

06 31 25 94 74 / cprak@oxfamfrance.org

Notre Affaire à Tous : Marie Pochon

06 52 26 19 41 – marie@notreaffaireatous.org

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