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French government faces legal challenge for climate action

France's President Emmanuel Macron speaks during a press conference with Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta at State House in Nairobi, Kenya Wednesday, March 13, 2019. Macron is visiting Kenya Wednesday, after stops in Ethiopia and Djibouti on Tuesday, as part of his latest Africa visit aimed at shoring up military and economic ties in an increasingly strategic region. (AP Photo/Khalil Senosi)

PARIS (AP) — Four activist groups have launched legal action to try to take the French state to court for not doing enough to fight climate change.

Greenpeace, Oxfam and two French environmental groups hope for an eventual court ruling requiring France to further lower carbon emissions, citing a similar, successful effort in the Netherlands .

The groups launched an online climate petition in December, garnering more than 2 million signatures and backing from stars like Juliette Binoche and Marion Cotillard. The groups filed a formal legal inquiry Thursday in a Paris court, which will decide on the next steps.

The French government’s top environment official, Francois de Rugy, defended the policies of President Emmanuel Macron’s government. De Rugy told BFM television Thursday that activists can’t “make emissions go down in a courtroom.”

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