Germany condemned by court for failing to meet its climate commitments

The German government has just been condemned for failing to meet its climate commitments for two sectors that are particularly CO2-emitting. An emergency programme was imposed by the courts, but Berlin could buy time and appeal.

Climate protesters in Berlin on September 23, 2023. AP - Fabian Sommer

By: RFI Follow


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With our correspondent in Berlin, Pascal Thibaut


A masterful slap in the face for the government due to its catastrophic climate policy For Deutsche Umwelthilfe, the decision of the Berlin Administrative Court is a great success. For the German authorities, the ruling comes at a bad time just as COP 28 begins in Dubai.

As with the recent ruling of the Constitutional Court on the budget, the government is accused of not respecting the commitments made. Excessive CO2 emissions in some sectors should have led to immediate corrective measures to rectify the situation. This was not the case. Transport and buildings, which together generate half of Germany's greenhouse gases, emitted more CO2 than expected in 2021 and 2022. There was no reaction from the ministers concerned.

Berlin wants to buy time

The administrative court forced the government to take urgent measures to remedy these abuses. Since an appeal is possible, Berlin saves some time.

The NGO Deutsche Umwelthilfe, which has already launched other appeals, already has some ideas. It proposes a speed limit on motorways, national roads and in cities, the abolition of climate-damaging subsidies, especially for diesel, and a programme to clean up schools.

In 2021, the Constitutional Court rejected the Merkel government's climate law as not in line with the fundamental rights of future generations. The text had to be improved. Overall, however, Germany met its overall emissions reduction commitments last year.

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