French Senate seeks to weaken constitutional commitment on climate change

PARIS, May 11 (Reuters) – The French Senate has voted to weaken a constitutional commitment to fight climate change and preserve biodiversity, putting it on a collision course with the lower house that could jeopardize prospects of a referendum.

The Senate, dominated by opposition conservatives, challenged a proposal in a bill that the constitution “guarantees” the fight against climate change, preferring less restrictive wording.

Right-wing lawmakers have expressed fear that a state guarantee could become an obstacle to innovation and French businesses.

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In a vote Monday evening, the Senate amended the article of a large-scale climate bill to read: “(The Republic) protects the environment as well as biodiversity and acts against climate change. .. “

President Emmanuel Macron pledged a plebiscite on including the fight against global warming in the constitution in response to criticism from left-wing voters and some lawmakers in his party that he had not done enough to protect the planet .

The original wording of the clause was proposed by a panel of 150 citizens set up by Macron to develop policy proposals to fight climate change.

However, a referendum requires that the lower and upper houses agree. Following the Senate vote, a joint committee made up of lawmakers from both chambers will now seek wording they can both agree to.

Macron said on Sunday he remained committed to a popular vote.

“I hope that the senators will change their minds and that we can let the people express themselves on this proposal,” government spokesman Gabriel Attal told France Inter radio.

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Reporting by Elizabeht Pineau and Richard Lough Editing by Gareth Jones

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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