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German government must improve climate protection program, court rules

The German government must improve its climate protection program as current measures are not sufficient to meet the country’s climate targets, the Berlin-Brandenburg Higher Administrative Court has ruled.

The government is not adhering to the binding emission reduction targets for individual sectors, the court said in a statement . Also, its climate protection program “suffers from methodological shortcomings and is partly based on unrealistic assumptions.”

With the ruling, which can still be appealed, the court granted two complaints by the Environmental Action Germany (DUH). The government could “no longer shirk its responsibility for climate protection,” said DUH director Juergen Resch.

DUH has already taken legal action against the government’s climate policy before. In November last year, a court ordered the government to set up immediate programs to make up for missed climate targets in the transport and building sectors.

“We have always made it clear that the package of measures in the 2023 climate protection program alone cannot be sufficient,” a spokesperson of the Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK) told Xinhua.

The court “confirms this need for further action and gives us the mandate to make further adjustments,” the spokesperson added. “We will now evaluate the judgments and their reasons as soon as we have them. We will then discuss how to proceed.”

The German government adopted the climate protection program in October 2023. It is an overall plan for climate protection policy and lists the most important measures in the areas of transport, energy, buildings, industry, and agriculture.

By 2030, Europe’s largest economy aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 65 percent compared to 1990 levels.

In mid-March, BMWK declared that Germany is on track to meet its 2030 national climate targets for the first time after the Federal Environment Agency (UBA) published a forecast predicting that greenhouse gas emissions in the country will fall by almost 64 percent by the end of the decade.

However, despite the generally positive trend, not all sectors are achieving their targets. Although the transport and building sectors were able to reduce their emissions in 2023, both sectors once again failed to meet the legal targets set by the government, according to UBA. ■

Famagusta Gazette