German climate law puts unfair burden on young, court rules
Germany’s Constitutional Court ruled on Thursday that the government’s climate law places an unfair burden on younger generations.
The ruling came after climate activists from Germany and large environmental groups filed four complaints to the court, claiming that the rights of younger generations were in danger because the country does not have concrete goals for curbing climate change in the next decade, according to The Associated Press.
Germany, like other European Union countries, is working toward cutting emissions by 55 percent compared to 1990 levels by 2030, according to The Associated Press.
Two years ago, the country’s government approved legislation that outlined specific goals for areas like heating and transport to reach the 2030 goal, but it did not implement objectives beyond that benchmark date, the wire service noted.
The country set a long-term goal of achieving net-zero emissions by 2050, but the government has not set any specific targets in place to reach the ultimate target, the AP reported.
In their ruling, the judges wrote that the regulations set in 2019 “irreversibly pushed a very high burden of emissions reduction into the period after 2030,” according to the AP.
They said it would be wrong to have one generation “use up large parts of the CO2 budget with a comparatively mild reduction burden, if that simultaneously means following generations are left with a radical reduction burden and their lives are exposed to comprehensive limits to freedom.”
As a result, the judges instructed the government to set new objectives for after 2030 by the end of next year.
Additionally, the court supported the idea that severe restrictions on freedom are acceptable when related to efforts to prevent climate change.
A number of countries across the globe are spearheading initiatives to reduce emissions, as the threats associated with the effects of climate change are becoming more pressing.
Earlier this month, President Biden announced that the U.S. is aiming to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 50 to 52 percent compared to 2005 levels by 2030, a benchmark in its long-term goal of reaching net-zero emissions economy-wide by 2050.
The announcement came the same week the White House hosted 40 heads of state for a two-day virtual climate summit.
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