Karlsruhe (dpa) – Politicians must improve climate protection to protect the rights of freedom of future generations. The federal constitutional court ruled that the federal climate protection law is inadequate.
The Karlsruhe judges have required the legislator to fine-tune the greenhouse gas emission reduction targets for the period after 2030 by the end of next year. Constitutional complaints from several climate protection activists were thus partially successful (Ref .: 1 BvR 2656/18, among others).
The judges explained that the complainants, some of whom were very young, had violated their rights to liberty by the provisions of the law. “The regulations irreversibly postpone high emission reduction costs to periods after 2030.” If the CO2 budget is used up on a large scale in 2030, the chance of ‘serious loss of freedom’ will increase because the time span for technical and social developments will be shorter.
Limiting an increase in the global mean temperature to well below 2 degrees and if possible to 1.5 degrees, as planned, would then only be feasible with increasingly urgent and short-term measures. “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 therefore threatened by drastic restrictions after 2030,” said the German Supreme Court’s statement .
In order to preserve the fundamentally guaranteed freedom, the legislator should have taken precautions “to alleviate these high burdens”. There are “precautions to ensure a freedom-friendly transition to climate neutrality”. Until now it is missing.
Article 20a of the Basic Law states: “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 the law and justice through the executive and the judiciary. “
This is what the court is referring to. A generation should not “consume large chunks of the CO2 budget with a relatively mild reduction burden, if this would leave subsequent generations with a radical reduction burden and their lives exposed to a great loss of freedom”.
In the future, even severe losses of freedom to protect the climate could be proportionally and constitutionally justified, the judges explained. Fundamental rights should be weighed. But: “At the same time, the relative weight of the climate protection requirement continues to increase in the context of advancing climate change.”
The judges warned that the natural basis of life must be treated carefully. And they should be left to posterity in a state “that future generations could not keep them alone at the expense of radical self-abstinence.” Nearly a dozen climate activists from Fridays for Future demonstrated in court on Thursday morning. They had posters with them that read, among other things: «Listen to the science! Climate protection now! Several associations involved in the lawsuits had announced a press conference this morning.
The Constitutional Court is now calling for transparent measures for the further development of greenhouse gas reduction to be implemented at an early stage. The judges thus combine development pressure and planning security. Constitutional law is on the one hand essential that further reduction measures are taken in good time after the year 2030 and at the same time sufficiently far into the future. On the other hand, further annual emission quantities and reduction measures should be specified differentially with a view to concrete orientation.