Germany’s supreme court ruled that the government must set clear targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions after 2030, arguing that current legislation does not go far enough in curbing climate change.
BERLIN – Germany’s supreme court on Thursday ruled that the country’s government must set clear targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions after 2030, arguing that current legislation doesn’t go far enough in ensuring climate change is limited to acceptable levels. .
Several people from Germany and elsewhere, supported by environmental groups, had filed four complaints with the Constitutional Court claiming that their rights were undermined by the lack of sufficient goals beyond the next decade.
Germany, like other European Union countries, aims to reduce emissions by 55% by 2030 compared to 1990 levels. Legislation passed in 2019 set specific targets for sectors such as housing and transport for that period. but not the long-term goal of reducing emissions to “ net zero ” by 2050.
“The regulations have irreversibly imposed a very high burden of reducing emissions in the period after 2030,” the judges said in their ruling.
They cited the Paris Agreement’s goal of keeping global warming well below 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit), ideally 1.5 C (2.7 F) by the end of the century compared to pre-industrial times. .
The court ordered the government to set new targets from 2030 onwards by the end of next year.
Attorney Felix Ekardt, who led one of the cases, said the verdict was “revolutionary” for Germany.
“German climate policy will have to be massively changed,” he said.
Climate activists expressed satisfaction with the verdict.
“It’s an incredibly good day for hundreds of thousands of young people,” said climate activist Luisa Neubauer, who was one of the plaintiffs.
The cases in Germany are part of a global effort by climate activists to force governments to take urgent action to tackle climate change.
One of the first successful cases was initiated in the Netherlands, where the Supreme Court upheld a ruling two years ago requiring the government to cut emissions by at least 25% by the end of 2020 from 1990 baseline levels.