Top German court finds government’s climate plan ‘insufficient’

Top German court finds government's climate plan 'insufficient'
A Fridays for Future demonstration in Stuttgart on March 19th. Photo: DPA
Germany's highest court ruled Thursday that the government's flagship climate protection plan was "insufficient" as it failed to set emission reduction targets beyond 2030, thereby threatening to infringe on the freedoms of future generations.

Partially upholding a series of claims by environmentalists and young people, Germany’s Constitutional Court ruled that Berlin’s current goal of reducing CO2 emissions to 55 percent of 1990 levels by 2030 was “incompatible with fundamental rights”.

The current measures “violate the freedoms of the complainants, some of whom are still very young” because they “irreversibly offload major emission reduction burdens onto periods after 2030”, the court ruled.

READ ALSO: What are the key points of Merkel’s new climate strategy?

The current measures “violate the freedoms of the complainants, some of whom are still very young” because they “irreversibly offload major emission reduction burdens onto periods after 2030”, the court ruled.

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It argued that while the state had not violated its duty to protect
citizens against climate change, the government had nonetheless not set out the timeline for further emissions reductions in enough detail.

“The risk of serious burdens is significant and can only be reconciled with the potentially affected fundamental rights if precautionary steps are taken to manage the reduction efforts anticipated after 2030,” the court said.

The ruling called on Berlin to “at the very least determine the size of the annual emission amounts to be set for periods after 2030”.

Besides a target for 2030, Germany’s new climate change law introduced by Angela Merkel’s government in 2019 includes a range of policies, including incentivising renewable energies, expanding electric car infrastructure and carbon trading.

Germany said last month it had met its annual climate goals set out by the law in 2020, in part due to a reduction of activity during the coronavirus pandemic.

READ ALSO: Germany pledges €100 billion in fight against climate change


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