30 Nov 2023, 12:59
Carolina Kyllmann

Court ruling requires German govt to present climate action programmes for transport and buildings

Clean Energy Wire

The German government will have to present emergency climate action programmes with short-term measures to reduce emissions in the transport and building sectors, which have both repeatedly missed their emission reduction targets, a court ruled following two lawsuits brought by environmental associations Climate Action Germany (DUH) and Friends of the Earth Germany (BUND). The Berlin-Brandenburg Higher Administrative Court ruled that the government was in breach of the country's climate action law, which stipulates that if a sector misses its annual emission reduction targets, the responsible ministry must introduce an immediate climate action programme, which the full cabinet must then agree. This must include short-term measures to ensure targets are reached in the following years, in this case from 2024 to 2030. The country's expert council on climate change had said that the ministry's proposals presented in July 2022 were insufficient to reach future targets. The court now said that the final government decision on a 2023 climate action programme, which was presented to make up for this shortcoming and set up emission reduction targets for the economy as a whole, was not enough to fulfil climate law obligations. It lacks short-term emissions reduction measures for transport and buildings. The ruling can still be appealed.

The ruling follows hot on the heels of another court decision, which called into question how the government planned to finance climate protection measures. "This judgement is a judicial double whammy for climate protection and a resounding slap in the face for the German government for its disastrous climate policy," DUH head Jürgen Resch said. The association is calling on the government to immediately adopt emergency measures, such as implementing speed limits, reducing climate-damaging subsidies and kicking off a renovation offensive for schools and kindergartens.

"Climate protection is a legal obligation, not a political 'nice-to-have'. The court made this very clear today," Remo Klinger, who legally represented DUH in the proceedings, said. Further DUH lawsuits against the government dealing with the sufficiency of Germany's climate protection measures in all sectors by 2030 are due to be negotiated on 1 February 2024.

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