Constitutional Court: Climate Protection Act is partly unconstitutional

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For the period after 2030, too, more specific guidelines for CO2 emissions must be found

Constitutional Court: Climate Protection Act is partly unconstitutional-protection

The Climate Protection Act of 2019 is partly unconstitutional. This has now been decided by the Constitutional Court, at least partially righting the partly very young plaintiffs around the activist Luise Neubauer. The law restricts the freedom of the young generation by reducing CO2 emissions not limited in enough detail for the period after 2031, according to reports in the FAZ and Bayerischer Rundfunk (

The federal climate protection law stipulates that greenhouse gas emissions should decrease by 55 percent by 2030 compared to 1990. The law does not set any reduction targets for the period after 2030. The individual plaintiff and the environmental organizations BUND, Deutsche Umwelthilfe, Fridays for Future and Greenpeace had sued against this. The constitutional judges agreed with them, at least in part.

The restriction to the period up to 2030 would postpone large parts of the required mitigation measures into the future, which restricts the freedom of the younger generations. Because if a large part of the CO2 budget is already used up by 2030, the youngsters will then possibly suffer "serious losses of freedom" if more CO2 has to be saved in order to increase the global temperature rise to two degrees, but if possible to 1.5 degrees as set out in the Paris Climate Agreement.

The federal government should not allow a generation "to consume large parts of the CO2 budget with a comparatively mild reduction burden, if this would leave the following generations with a radical reduction burden and their lives would be exposed to extensive loss of freedom", according to the Constitutional Court.

The legislature must now amend the law by the end of 2022 and set more specific reduction targets for the period after 2031. So it says in the judgment:

"It is true that it cannot be demanded that the decreasing emission quantities are already specifically determined until the climate neutrality aimed for in 2050 is achieved. However, it is not enough to simply oblige the federal government to make a further determination once – in 2025 – by means of a statutory instrument Rather, it would at least have to be regulated at what time intervals further determinations are to be made transparently. "

A new definition is necessary before 2025. The Karlsruhe judges did not object to the climate protection targets up to 2030.

Environmentalists celebrated the verdict. Luisa Neubauer from Fridays for Future said it was "an incredibly big day for many". Federal Minister of Economics, Peter Altmaier, also recognized the importance of the judgment:

Federal Environment Minister Svenja Schulze (SPD) was in a press release quote like this:

"The Constitutional Court gives the legislature a clear mandate to create clear legal requirements for the path to climate neutrality beyond the year 2030. So that we do not lose any time, I will be presenting key points for a long-term climate protection law that has been further developed in this sense in the summer Creates planning security. "

For the time being, it remained open whether specific targets for CO2 reductions in the individual sectors (such as buildings, transport, electricity generation and industry) need to be set.

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