The highest court in Germany has ruled that the country’s 2019 climate change law failed to make sufficient provisions, siding with a young female activist and giving the government until the end of the year to make amendments.
On Thursday, the German Constitutional Court sided with a number of plaintiffs, many of them young, who said the country’s climate laws failed to make sufficient provisions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The court, however, did not say the law violated the rights of future generations, as had been suggested by the plaintiffs.
“The challenged provisions do violate the freedoms of the complainants, some of whom are still very young,” the court said in a statement. “The provisions irreversibly offload major emission reduction burdens onto periods after 2030.”
One of the plaintiffs, Sophie Becksen, claimed that rising sea levels caused by climate change would engulf the North Sea island of Pellworm on which her family farms, leaving her with no inheritance.
The 2019 climate protection package, which aims to ensure the country will hit its 2030 targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, was passed after considerable bartering between Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative bloc and her Social Democrat coalition partners.
The government now has until the end of 2021 to tighten up climate change laws.
The ruling comes as German parties prepare for the election in September this year, with the country’s Green party saying they are determined to lead the next government. The latest polls show the Greens on an equal pegging with the conservative bloc, having closed a 17-point gap since January.
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