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German court orders govt to step up climate protection

December 01, 2023

Berlin, Dec 1 (AGENCY):

The German government must set up immediate programs to make up for missed climate targets in the transport and building sectors, the Berlin-Brandenburg Higher Administrative Court ruled.

The government failed to comply with the current climate protection law, which obliges ministries that exceed their annual emissions targets to take short-term measures, the court found.

"Climate protection is a legal obligation, not a political 'nice-to-have'. The court made this very clear todaym" Remo Klinger, a lawyer for Environmental Action Germany (DUH), one of the plaintiffs, as saying.

While Germany was able to meet its emissions targets with an overall reduction last year, the transport and building sectors exceeded their targets by 9 million tonnes and around 5 million tons of CO2 equivalents, respectively, according to the Federal Environment Agency (UBA).

Possible measures under discussion include the end of tax breaks for diesel and kerosene, the introduction of a speed limit on freeways and the energy modernization of buildings.

"We need specific immediate programs that effectively contribute to the climate targets," said Antje von Broock of Friends of the Earth Germany (BUND).

For the German government, it is the second setback caused by a court ruling this month after the Federal Constitutional Court tore a 60 billion euro ($65.4 billion) hole in the planned budget for the next year, by ruling against the reallocation of Covid-19 emergency funds for climate measures.

Due to the suspension of significant expenditure from Germany's Climate and Transformation Fund, many important green transformation projects are now on hold.

 

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