Germany’s CO2 price on heating and transport fuels faces legal action
A first lawsuit is being prepared against Germany’s new carbon price on heating and transport fuels that came into effect in January 2021, Jakob Schlandt reports for Tagesspiegel Background. The undisclosed plaintiff from the gas and heating sector alleges that the Fuel Emissions Trading Act (BEHG) is in breach of Germany’s Basic Law (Grundgesetz). The lawsuit is focusing on the fact that the government sets the CO2 price until 2026, which is currently 25 euros per tonne and increases annually. According to the plaintiff’s lawyer, this means the CO2 price is a tax, and the federal government did not have jurisdiction over its creation. If the CO2 price were decided on the market, the plaintiff would have no issue with the mechanism, Schlandt writes. He says the lawsuit will be filed at the Berlin administrative court by the middle of the year.
Many politicians and stakeholders have warned that the CO2 price in its current design would not pass the scrutiny of Germany’s Constitutional Court. However, the environment ministry in charge of the legislation says several legal assessments have shown that the design is not unconstitutional.