The fact that climate law causes so much debate in society can hardly be seen in the National Assembly’s half circle. The number of members of Parliament was less than the number recognized in the debates. In any case, only half of them are allowed to appear in person due to the rules of the wreath. Nevertheless, Environment Minister Barbara Pompey tried to sow the enthusiasm:
“This law is a true and comprehensive cultural shift! It will transform the environment into a daily reality. The text is now in front of you. I think it is an opportunity for a legacy that we can all be proud of!”
Representative Matteo Orville has left the “Republic in Marche” party because his environmental policy is not progressive enough for him. He also does not believe in the new law, as he assured the National Assembly.
“You missed all the good procedures on this law. I think that’s a mistake, but it’s a political choice.”
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Environmental activists disappointed
What doesn’t go far enough for some is actually too much for others. Above all, the right-wing and conservative opposition wanted to block as many articles as possible. After a pandemic, the economy and society should not be burdened with additional requirements – so the argument was. Comprehensive law affects almost all areas of life: travel, living, eating or working. Most of the 7,000 amendments intended to stiffer measures were rejected. Delphine Batho, a former environment minister and now unaffiliated lawmaker, is disappointed.
“When the government’s draft arrived here, it had already turned its back on the 149 proposals of the Citizens’ Agreement. The only question that was asked is: Will parliament handle this? Unfortunately, the answer is: No! From the Citizens’ Agreement proposals, we were told here: We have time, we will do it later – growth and consumption will come first. “
Exceptions and dilutions
MPs have expanded parts of the law to renovate poorly segregated apartments. Under the new law, the government can ban the leasing of more than four million properties. “Decorating windows” is what the opposition and environmental groups say. Renters will have to stand against landlords for this. This will not happen. The rules for vegetarian dishes in state canteens were discussed extensively and eventually tightened. From 2023, kitchens in the administration, the military, or government hospitals will have to offer a meat-free meal every day. Contrary to the Citizens’ Climate Agreement proposals, advertising of products that pollute the environment is still permitted. Advertising is prohibited for fossil energy only.
Critics say exceptions and weaknesses reduce the efficiency of the law. The deputies decided that large business centers that take up a lot of space may not be built anymore. However, this does not apply if it is smaller than 10,000 square meters. However, according to environmental associations, it is precisely these companies that account for 80 percent of new buildings.
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The opposition wants to apply pressure
Nothing will come from the often cited “environmental crime” either. Particularly bad environmental pollution is now only categorized as a minor crime. Finally, domestic flights will only be canceled on routes that can be easily covered within two and a half hours by express train. Members of the Citizen Conference had requested it for a four-hour train ride. Sylvain Bourquier, a member of the Citizens’ Congress, warns.
“The government has announced that it wants to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 40 per cent. The European Union even wants to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 55 per cent and China by 65 per cent. The proposed law comes to about 20 per cent at best. We are backward. The urgency of this topic does not tolerate being left behind. “
Many of Burkeer’s colleagues are disappointed with the National Assembly members. They were expecting parliamentarians to tighten the government’s legal text again in line with the original version of the Citizens’ Agreement and are now talking about a missed opportunity. Now the hopes are on the Senate. The law will be discussed there in June. Additionally – as they say by the Climate Guardians – there are also other means of pressure: future elections or demonstrations.