Since this Monday afternoon, the Climate and Resilience bill has been scrutinized by the Senate in plenary session.
With this big question: What imprint will the upper house, dominated by the right-wing opposition, leave on this last great environmental law of the five-year term?
A first examination of the text in committee, by the senators, has already set the tone.
The government regrets the setbacks on key aspects of the text: the establishment of low emission zones, the vegetarian menu in canteens or nitrogen fertilizers.
For its part, the Climate Action Network hopes for some progress in the examination of the text by the senators.
In particular on the railways, obscured by the deputies, or on the integration of e-commerce warehouses in the fight against the artificialization of soils.
Climate and resilience bill, episode 4. After a first examination in the National Assembly, in a special committee and then in plenary session, the paving, presented as the last major environmental law of the five-year term, is now on the table of the Senate.
"The text was first examined, at the beginning of May, by the economic affairs and sustainable development committee of the upper chamber", begins Céleste Duriez, project manager at the Climate Action Network (RAC), a federation of environmental NGOs. French.
Since this Monday afternoon, it has been scrutinized by all the senators, in plenary session. This until June 29. With a big question in the background: will the upper house, dominated by the right-wing opposition, leave its mark on this bill, considered far too unambitious by the NGOs at the end of its passage? in the Assembly, in the hands of the presidential majority, at the beginning of May? In a way, the examination of the text by the special committees of the Senate set the tone. "The debates were short, gathered over four days, but intense, with 2,000 amendments tabled for 700 adopted," continues Céleste Duriez. Above all, they were more open, with only 5% of amendments deemed inadmissible, when this figure climbed to 25% during the examination of the text by the special committee of the National Assembly. "
"We could have expected the Senate to delete many articles"
It remains to be seen whether these amendments go in the direction of strengthening the ambitions of this text, unprecedented in its scope and the themes it covers.
From transport to advertising, via the artificialization of soils, the development of bulk in mass distribution, the energy renovation of buildings, etc. All with the stated aim of reducing France's greenhouse gas emissions by 40% by 2030 [compared to 1990].
The Ministry of Ecological Transition begins by underlining "the goodwill shown by the Senate in committee".
"We could have expected that it purely and simply suppresses quantity of articles", we slip in the entourage of the minister, Barbara Pompili.
Setbacks that stain the eyes of the government
From there to giving only good points to the first copy returned by the upper house?
"There are contradictions between the will displayed by the Senate to improve the general ambition of the text and the changes that were made in committee," points out an advisor to Barbara Pompili.
This is particularly the case with the ban on the rental of energy sieves, points out the government.
An amendment to the bill "would postpone by six years the ban on rental of housing labeled E [energy performance diagnosis], or 2.6 million housing in France, and while the building represents 25% of gas emissions greenhouse effect ”, deplores Barbara Pompili's entourage.
The same decline in Low Emission Zones (ZFE), a device aimed at restricting traffic to the most polluting vehicles, we deplore at the ministry.
The government had obtained from the Assembly the ban on Crit'Air 3 stickers from 2025 in the ten metropolises regularly exceeding air quality standards and which must set up an EPZ this year.
The Senate wants to postpone this obligation by five years.
The tax on nitrogenous fertilizers definitively discarded?
Another sticking point: vegetarian menus in canteens. "We made the choice to generalize the experiment launched within the framework of the Egalim law, at the start of the five-year term, and which consisted of experimenting with a vegetarian menu in the canteens once a week, we recall in the entourage. by Barbara Pompili. The Senate only wishes to extend the experiment by two years, so without generalizing it. "
The Ministry of Ecological Transition also deplores a decline in the use of nitrogen fertilizers by agriculture.
"A European directive requires us to reduce our ammonia emissions by 13% by 2030 [mainly from the use of nitrogenous fertilizers]," recalls an adviser to the ministry.
Through this bill, the government wanted to set an annual reduction trajectory for these emissions, with the possibility of considering a national tax on nitrogenous fertilizers if this trajectory was not maintained for two consecutive years.
The Senate rejects this plan and considers the introduction of a tax on these nitrogenous fertilizers only if it already exists at European level.
Hopes for progress for the Climate Action Network
Céleste Duriez also notes these setbacks. “Some were expected,” she says. We know that historically, the Senate is attached to leaving a freedom of action to communities, which may explain the setbacks on vegetarian menus, for example. However, the RAC mission manager does not give bad points to the Senate copy. "The debate in the committees has already made it possible to reintegrate subjects which had been overlooked by the deputies," she begins. Rail in particular, on which senators approved in committee a reduction in VAT on train tickets from 10% to 5.5%. The RAC also hopes a lot from an amendment tabled by Senator Jean-Baptiste Blanc."It aims to include e-commerce warehouses in the measures aimed at supervising the establishment of new supermarkets to fight against the artificialization of soils", continues Céleste Duriez. A big hole in the racket until then denounced by environmental NGOs.
In the good points granted to the Senate, the charge of missions of the RAC also quotes "the more precise work in the legal drafting of the articles".
“On the building side, the definition of an efficient energy renovation that the text gave until then was very muddled,” she illustrates.
The Senate clarified it and raised its ambition.
For example, a housing classified C after renovation can no longer be considered as an efficient renovation.
No more illusions for the RAC?
In the end, Céleste Duriez draws up a “mixed” assessment of this first stage in the Senate.
"Despite certain advances proposed in committee, we are sticking to a text that is not up to the task of respecting France's climate objectives," she regrets.
But this was already the case with the copy presented to the Council of Ministers in February, and the one taken out for consideration by the Assembly in early May.
"We no longer have many illusions about the possibility of rectifying the situation," laments Céleste Duriez.
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Still a long way to go before the adoption of the Climate Bill?
The Senate will examine the text in plenary session until June 28 with a solemn vote on the 29th. “It is expected that the Senate will act on the modifications to the version proposed by the National Assembly, which will then entail the constitution of 'a joint joint committee (CMP), ”says Céleste Duriez. This one, made up of seven deputies for as many senators, will have to settle the disagreements between the two Assemblies. This CMP will work during July. If it is conclusive, all that remains for the Climate and Resilience bill is to make a final quick passage before the National Assembly and the Senate, to act on the final version drawn up by this mixed commission. "We can then consider adopting the text before the end of July," said the Ministry of Ecological Transition.
What if it is not conclusive?
“The text will go back to the National Assembly for final reading, which has the last word,” continues Céleste Duriez.
There would again be a reading in special committee, a priori from July 19, and a second in plenary session, which would not start until September.
"" In the event of a non-conclusive CMP, the timetable has not yet been set, says one in the entourage of Barabara Pompili before specifying that "the government is determined that the bill be adopted by the end of the five-year term ”.