Federal government must improve climate protection – the coalition states | Free press


Karlsruhe / Berlin (dpa) – A groundbreaking verdict puts pressure on politicians in the field of climate protection.

The Federal Constitutional Court ruled on Thursday that the federal government must improve the climate protection law to protect the liberty rights of younger generations. The Union and the SPD immediately blamed each other for the failures, but announced a swift response. Above all, climate protectors see their criticism of the government confirmed.

Key points for an improved climate protection law should be presented this summer, Vice Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Environment Minister Svenja Schulze (both SPD) said after the Karlsruhe ruling. Economy Minister Peter Altmaier (CDU) also stressed, “We must implement that.”

The Karlsruhe judges required the legislator to fine-tune the greenhouse gas emission reduction targets for the period after 2030 by the end of 2022. Constitutional complaints from several climate protection activists were thus partially successful. The judges said the legal provisions violated their rights to liberty, some of which were very young. “The regulations irreversibly postpone high emission reduction costs to periods after 2030.”

The climate protection law was passed by the Bundestag and Bundesrat at the end of 2019. For the years up to 2030, it indicates for individual areas such as traffic, agriculture or buildings how much greenhouse gases they are allowed to emit in which year. This should help limit the rise in the global mean temperature to well below 2 degrees Celsius, and if possible to 1.5 degrees Celsius, in order to keep the effects of climate change as low as possible.

Schulze emphasized that she had always advocated setting an intermediate goal for 2040 on the way to greenhouse gas neutrality by 2050. But that was “not feasible” with the CDU and CSU. “In this regard, it is good that the Federal Constitutional Court says you cannot back down, you have to be clearer about it,” she said. Climate neutrality means that no more greenhouse gases are emitted than can be re-bound.

Above all, Scholz accused Altmaier of a blockade. “Always blink your eyes for big climate goals, but never act in real life, always hit the brakes really hard” – this political principle has now failed. “Now we really need to do something – and I am ready for that,” announced the SPD candidate for chancellor.

Altmaier also called for more speed in climate protection. The road to climate neutrality by 2050 must now be made irreversible, he said, recalling his proposals from last September. He then suggested that the Bundestag and Bundesrat adopt a charter that sets annual targets for greenhouse gas reductions to achieve the desired climate neutrality by 2050. Alexander Dobrindt, CSU’s regional group leader, now sets an earlier coal phase out, accelerating trading in CO2 emission rights and a faster switch to alternative drives to save more CO2 by 2030.

The Greens and the climate movement also feel confirmed by the ruling. Green leader Annalena Baerbock spoke of a historic decision. “As politically responsible people, our task is not only to think in short cycles, but also to ensure basic rights in the long term,” she stressed. Until the middle of this decade, twice as many renewable energy sources would have to be expanded annually than now, Germany should get out of the coal faster and only allow zero-emission cars from 2030.

Greens’ federal manager Michael Kellner called the verdict a “devastating testimony to the Groko’s climate protection”. Supporters of the Fridays for Future movement expressed themselves in the same way. “With the climate action, the Federal Constitutional Court confirms what science has been showing for years: delay and inadequate climate goals endanger not only nature, but also our right to life and the right to the future,” said activist Line Niedeggen.

The business community is also in favor of long-term goals. This creates planning security for companies to develop new technologies and invest heavily, the BDI explained. At the same time, the trade association emphasized: “Even after the ruling, politicians are obliged to present tools with which every individual can actually achieve goals.” FDP leader Christian Lindner told the “Heilbronn vote” that politics should focus more “on competition for ideas and a technological push”.

In the opinion of the Constitutional Court, increasingly urgent and shorter measures would be necessary after 2030 to achieve the climate target. “Virtually any freedom may be affected by these future emission reduction commitments, as nearly all areas of human life are still associated with greenhouse gas emissions and are therefore threatened by drastic restrictions beyond 2030,” the German Supreme Court said. . The legislator should have taken measures “to alleviate these high burdens”.

The court refers to article 20a of the constitution. It says, “The state also takes responsibility for future generations and protects the natural foundations of life and animals within the framework of the constitutional order through legislation and in accordance with law and justice through the executive and the judiciary.” The judges ruled that one generation should not consume large parts of the CO2 budget and then leave the necessary radical reductions to subsequent generations. Because in this generation, even severe losses of freedom to protect the climate could be proportionally and constitutionally justified.