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21 Sep 2022, 13:22
Edgar Meza

German state Baden-Württemberg approves ambitious new climate law

SWR

The state government of Baden-Württemberg has passed a new version of its Climate Protection Act in an effort to further reduce greenhouse gases with ambitious new goals, but critics say the legislation remains too vague in some areas, particularly in the transport sector, public broadcaster SWR reports. The state’s premier, Winfried Kretschmann, and environment minister Thekla Walker, both members of the Green Party, called the new law a "great success". The legislation prescribes CO2 reduction targets for different sectors  - such as agriculture, road construction and the building - and calls for experts to check annually whether the measures are sufficient. Baden-Württemberg is aiming to halve CO2 emissions by 2030 across all sectors and become climate-neutral by 2040.

The building sector in particular faces major challenges. In 2019, it emitted some 17.6 million tonnes of greenhouse gases in the state. By 2030, that figure is expected to drop to 10.7 million tonnes. That requires massive investment in insulation and renewable energy in heat and power generation. The new law requires solar power to be used in state-owned buildings and for state monuments as well as on traffic routes.

Due to a separate state mobility bill that lawmakers are currently writing, the new law does not offer many new regulations in the transport sector – a point of contention for environmental and climate activists. "That doesn't do justice to the seriousness of the situation," said Friends of the Earth Germany's (BUND) Baden-Württemberg state chair Sylvia Pilarsky-Grosch. In addition, the law offers too many recommendations rather than requirements and it lacks sanction options if goals are not achieved, BUND complained. The draft, it added, is characterised by a "non-binding nature". The Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Union (NABU), however, was more optimistic about the new law, describing it as a milestone. “The decisive factor is the consistent implementation of specific climate protection measures by the ministries, municipalities and companies," said NABU state chair Johannes Enssle.

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