Deal of the Century -

20 Minutes

A historic affair, of which France will soon know the outcome.

The lawyers of Oxfam France, the Nicolas Hulot Foundation, Notre affaires à tous and Greenpeace France - the four NGOs which took the state to court for its "climate inaction" and its "faulty liability" on December 17th 2018, following

the Affair of the Century


- are heard this Thursday before the administrative tribunal of Paris.

The latter will render his decision within a fortnight.

Their goal ?

The establishment of an obligation to act on the part of the State for the climate, and an inclusion of this obligation to act in Article 1 of the French Constitution.

The MEP for Europe Ecology, Marie Toussaint, founder of the association Notre affaires à tous and at the origin of

the Affair of the Century

, returns for

20 Minutes

 on the beginnings of this fight, and on the consequences of the court's decision administrative.

Favorable, it could pave the way for other actions in favor of real climate justice in France.

Why, in 2018, did you decide to launch

the Affair of the Century


In 2015, everyone was preparing for COP21 where we signed this famous commitment, the Paris Agreement, which was to change everything.

We hoped, already at that time, that the crime of ecocide would be recognized in France.

And then there was the victory of Urgenda in the Netherlands, in May 2015 (*).

There, we said to ourselves that we had to do the same thing.

So I contacted some legal friends, because I believe a lot in the force of law, as well as climate activists, and together, we set up the association Notre affaires à tous with the aim of defending climate justice, of doing recognize ecocide and the right of nature, but whose main object was to be the creation of

the Affair of the Century


How was your desire to take the state to court received?

When we first started talking about this climate case, when we first started talking about it, a few people immediately said it was a good thing.

But others, many, looked at us askance.

They did not fully understand why we wanted to use the law to defend our rights.

We carried the articulation of social justice and environmental justice very strong, and for all that, we were a little surprising.

But over time, more and more people joined and supported us.

Suddenly, it emerged as the solution and the action that we could all take together, to finally push the French state to act.

Because let's not forget that France's carbon footprint has practically stagnated since the 1970s. The results are very clear: France continues to pollute in the same way as 30 years ago!

The Affair of the Century

was launched three months after Nicolas Hulot's resignation from the post of Minister for the Ecological Transition.

Would the filing of this appeal have been possible if he had retained his mandate?

I believe that

the Affair of the Century

was launched

at the right time.

President Macron was elected on big environmental promises.

This is the reason why Nicolas Hulot joined his government at the time.

But from the summer of 2018, and after Nicolas Hulot's decision to leave his ministry in the face of the lack of action on the part of the government on all environmental issues, great anger is mounting in society. French.

The Case of the Century

was launched at that time.

It also resonated with the climate strike and the youth movement, led by Greta Thunberg and launched around the same time.

It was a real


for the climate that we seized (**).

And if Nicolas Hulot had remained at the Ministry of Ecological Transition, I believe that

the Affair of the Century

would have been launched anyway.

But not in the same way, and maybe not worn by the same actors.

Could the climate law, which must be presented to the Council of Ministers on February 10, make it possible to strengthen the legal levers making it possible to protect the environment a little more in France?

With this future climate law, there are actually two questions that arise.

A democratic question.

Did the president keep his word to pass without filter the proposals of the citizens' convention to the parliamentary examination?

The answer is clearly no.

There are filters, much more than three wildcards, and the Convention proposals have been greatly diminished.

The second question is of a climatic and environmental nature.

Will the proposals that are submitted and that will be translated into law allow us to meet our climate objectives, those that are already written into the law, those that

the Case of the Century

is defending?

Again, the answer is no.

France's goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40% by 2030 has already passed.

And with the current government policy, we will stay below these objectives.

How would a decision in favor of

the Affair of the Century

 before the administrative tribunal be historic?


Case of the Century


is historic as it is the most sustained climate action lawsuit in the world.

It is therefore also a response to citizen action.

It is also historic because, after the Netherlands, France could decide to join the States, in particular within the European Union, which declare that climate protection is a human right, a real obligation, and that it is a condition for respecting the human rights and social rights of the population.

We therefore hope that it will give very good conclusions.

(*) On June 24, 2015, the Dutch foundation


decided to appeal to the court of first instance in The Hague to force the Netherlands to reduce CO2 emissions by 40% by 2020. The Dutch judge considered demand for justified obligation and forced the state to raise its objectives.

(**) The Affair of the Century petition has been signed by 2.3 million citizens.

A record figure in this type of business.


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