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Environmental policy: Three new constitutional complaints for more climate protection

Environmental policy: Three new constitutional complaints for more climate protection
Environmental policy: Three new constitutional complaints for more climate protection

The 2021 ruling is considered historic: politicians had to tighten the climate protection law. Now climate activists are announcing new constitutional complaints.

Climate activists and environmental organizations have announced three new constitutional complaints to force the federal government to do more to protect the climate. This applies in the event that Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier signs the amendment to the Climate Protection Act approved by the Bundesrat in May, Greenpeace, Germanwatch and Deutsche Umwelthilfe (DUH) announced in Berlin, where they presented the new complaints together with Fridays for Future and other organizations.

“We are meeting here today for constitutional complaint 2.0,” said Roda Verheyen, who is supporting one of the complaints as a lawyer. In 2021, the Federal Constitutional Court ruled in a historic ruling that politicians must improve climate protection in order to protect the civil liberties of future generations. Constitutional complaints filed by several climate activists – including some who are participating again this time – were partly successful at the time.

What the new complaints are about

Verheyen cited inadequate climate policy and the amendment to the Federal Climate Protection Act as the core problem and reason for the new complaints. “This is unconstitutional,” Verheyen stressed. “The sector targets have been abolished as binding sector targets. This puts the overall reduction path at risk.”

Luisa Neubauer from Fridays for Future criticized the federal government’s climate policy as self-righteous and short-sighted: “The traffic light coalition seems to think that it only has to protect people from climate catastrophe when it suits them.” Climate protection is a human right. “As long as the government ignores this, we will take legal action.”

What is the status of the reform of the Climate Protection Act

After the Bundestag passed the law in mid-May, the Bundesrat also approved the controversial reform of the Climate Protection Act. The change, which was pushed primarily by the FDP, stipulates, among other things, that in future the focus will no longer be on achieving greenhouse gas reductions in individual sectors, but on overall savings across all sectors. This does not change the climate targets themselves: Germany is still to become greenhouse gas neutral by 2045.

Before the amendment to the law comes into force, it must be signed by the Federal President. The German Environmental Aid Association has asked Frank-Walter Steinmeier not to do this in a letter from its lawyer, said DUH head Jürgen Resch. When asked by the German Press Agency, the Federal President’s Office explained that the amendment is currently still being examined – without going into any possible reasons for this.

Representatives of the complaint of the German Federation for the Environment and Nature Conservation (BUND) and the German Solar Energy Promotion Association (SFV), as well as those of Germanwatch and Greenpeace, announced on Wednesday that they would also raise their complaints if the amendment to the Climate Protection Act did not come into force.

Source: Stern

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