Greenpeace, Oxfam France, Notre Affaire a Tous (It’s Our Business) and a foundation established by former environment minister Nicolas Hulot said France’s greenhouse gas emissions had been rising since 2015 and its carbon footprint had not improved since 1995.
The move came after the government in February issued a non-committal response to a petition with 2 million signatures calling on it to take a range of measures including radical steps such as banning major infrastructure projects that would damage the environment.
The organisations said that they were asking the Paris Administrative Court to order the government to take measures to reduce France’s greenhouse gas emissions to levels in line with ensuring a global temperature rise of no more than 1.5 degrees.
They have also called for a protest on Saturday, while secondary school students are expected to join climate strike marches once again on Friday.
Environment Minister Francois de Rugy criticised the legal action, saying the government was taking numerous measures including the closure of coal-fired power plants and a move away from oil-based home heating.
“Fuel consumption in 2018 was down for the first time in four years,” he added.
“You can’t cut greenhouse gas emissions in the courts.