The French citizens assembly on climate demands a referendum to institute the crime of ‘ecocide’.

As the final Sunday session wound up three days of debate, the “ecocide” proposal topped dozens of ideas presented by the 150 randomly picked members of the citizens assembly on climate, along with their proposal that ‘the fight against climate change’, ‘the preservation of biodiversity and of the environment’ and the creation of an ‘Environmental Advocate’ be included in the French Constitution.

The 150 assembly members have submitted their proposals to the French Minister of Ecological and Social Transition, Elisabeth Borne. This is the culmination of several months of debate.

Elisabeth Borne received the proposals and praised their “ambition”. “The French President is working on a Just and Green Recovery Plan. Your work will be key to this Plan” she said. She added that there would be” no taboos “. Elisabeth Borne said she was “Personally favorable to a referendum”. “Multiple questions would help to share this work with all citizens”. “It would take time to organize it, but it would help in growing ecological consciousness”, she argued.

The proposal is aimed at removing the impunity of big polluters acting in full knowledge of the risks to ecosystems.  “Ecocide” has been defined using the concept of “planetary boundaries” developed by the Stockholm Resilience Institute and it was influential in drafting the Sustainable Development Goals. The framework lists nine interconnected “planetary boundaries” such as critical CO2 levels, ocean acidification, biosphere integrity, etc. which we cannot cross without risking irreversible damage to the Earth’s ability to sustain human life.

President Macron had decided to organize this unprecedented participatory democracy initiative after the “yellow vests” crisis that was triggered by the announcement of a carbon tax on fuel. The assembly’s proposals also come at a time when politicians are working on a recovery plan in response to the economic recession. 

The French President Emmanuel Macron met members of the assembly on June 29th to provide them with “first answers” and pledged 15 billion euros to tackle the climate crisis.

This blog post was inspired by an article in the journal Le Monde.