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Carême v. France

Jurisdiction: European court of human Rights


Side A: Carême (Government)


Side B: France (Government)


Core objectives: Whether there is a violation of Article 8 of the ECHR based on exposure to climate risk caused by insufficient government action.


Summary
The application was introduced by the former mayor of the city of Grande-Synthe in France. The applicant is represented by Ms Corinne Lepage, former Minister of the Environment, former MEP and candidate for the presidential elections in 2002. In 2019 the municipality of Grande-Synthe, which is located in an area considered at very high risk of exposure to climate risks, and the applicant, acting in his capacity of Grande-Synthe Mayor and of a private resident, asked the Council of State to cancel the Government's refusal to take additional measures to meet the Paris Agreement objective of reducing GHG emissions by 40% by 2030. The cities of Paris and Grenoble, as well as several environmental protection associations have intervened in the procedure. In its first decision, dated 19 November 2020, the Council of State declared the application admissible insofar as it was introduced by the municipality of Grande-Synthe and allowed the interventions of Paris, Grenoble and eNGOs. The court rejected, however, the application insofar as it was brought by the applicant, on the grounds that he did not show any interest in the case since his claims were limited to the argument that, as an individual, his home was situated in an area likely to be subject to flooding by 2040.

On July 1, 2021 the Council of State ruled on the merits, finding for the claimants. It observed that the drop in emissions in 2019 was too small and that it was not significant in 2020 because the economic activity had been reduced by the health crisis. It also held that adherence to the trajectory, which provides for a 12% drop in emissions for the period 2024-2028, did not appear to be achievable unless new measures were not quickly adopted. The Council of State therefore ordered the Government to take additional measures by March 31, 2022 to achieve the goal of reducing GHG emissions by 40% by 2030 (see Commune de Grande-Synthe v. France). 

Relying on Article 8 of the ECHR, the applicant complains that the Council of State erred in rejecting his action on the ground that he had no interest in the proceedings, even though he was clearly exposed to climate risk caused by insufficient government action. He further argues that the authorities' failure to act constitutes a violation of their obligation to protect the right to private and family life, within the meaning of Article 8 and to guarantee the right to life, within the meaning of article 2. He also requests that his case be joined with the Duarte Agostinho and Others v. Portugal and 32 other states.

On June 7, 2022, the Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights relinquished jurisdiction in favor of the Grand Chamber. The case is now going to be examined by the ECtHR's Grand Chamber of 17 judges on account of the fact that the case raises a serious question affecting the interpretation of the Convention (Art 30 ECHR).

Full case documents will be added as they become available. 

Case documents

from the Grantham Research Institute
from the Grantham Research Institute
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