05 Jul 2021, 14:50
Kerstine Appunn Sven Egenter

NGO launches law suits against three German states over “inadequate” climate laws

Clean Energy Wire

Environmental NGO Deutsche Umwelthilfe (DUH) has issued five new legal cases on behalf of children and young adults who claim that the climate legislation of German states is insufficient to achieve the targets of the Paris Climate Agreement and is in collision with the German constitution. In the wake of the landmark climate decision of the Federal Constitutional Court, the stakeholders are now also demanding the adoption of adequate climate protection laws at the state level. DUH and the complainants are taking legal action against Bavaria and North Rhine-Westphalia for not having sufficient intermediate targets for greenhouse gas reductions and for not specifying the instruments and measures to reach them and against Brandenburg for not having a climate action law at all.

In late April 2021, Germany’s highest court ruled the federal Climate Action Law insufficient and partially unconstitutional because it lacked emission reduction targets beyond 2030. This triggered a flash reform by the German government who passed an amended climate bill within weeks of the court’s decision. Both Brandenburg and North Rhine-Westphalia are home to lignite mines and have been pivotal players in negotiating Germany's coal phase out by 2038, which climate activists and many analysts think is too late for the country to meet its own tougher climate targets.

The suits come as the campaigns for the federal elections are slowly gathering pace. The state premier of North Rhine-Westphalia, Armin Laschet, is also the conservative CDU/CSU alliance's candidate to succeed chancellor Angela Merkel, making him the top-contender to head the next German government.

Remo Klinger, legal director at DUH said in a press release that not only the federal government but also the 16 German states have a duty to implement appropriate climate protection measures in a binding manner. “But at the state level, things look much worse than at the federal level,” he said.

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