Download Policy Factsheet
Fill out the form below to access our summary document, with all the essential information you need.

What is Germany’s Climate Protection Act (Bundes-Klimaschutzgesetz)?

  • The German Climate Action Act (Klimaschutzgesetz) is at the centre of Germany's climate policy and aims to ensure that Germany reaches its climate goals. It sets binding targets for GHG reductions, with a 65% reduction by 2030, 88% by 2040, and climate neutrality by 2045.
  • It establishes an independent Council of Experts on Climate Change to evaluate progress and the effectiveness of measures.
  • The Climate Protection Act also requires a climate protection program. It contains the concrete measures with which the federal government intends to achieve its climate protection goals by 2045.

Updates on Germany's Climate Protection Act

  • From looking back to looking ahead: Until now, the Climate Protection Act has focused on past emissions to meet targets. With the increased focus on future emissions, it can be better assessed whether Germany is on the right track or whether stricter measures are needed.
  • Overall responsibility instead of sectoral goals: The focus is now on whether greenhouse gas emissions are reduced, regardless of the area or sector in which the greenhouse gases are generated. Until now, the ministries have had to present emergency programs if their industry has produced too many greenhouse gases. This obligation is now no longer required with the change in the law. Improvements to climate protection only need to be made if the overall target is in danger. This will be reviewed again for the first time in 2026.
  • Flexible achievement of goals: The new law introduces more flexibility in managing annual emissions budgets. If these budgets are missed, the deficits can be distributed over the remaining years until 2030 rather than requiring immediate corrective measures.
  • Strengthening the Expert Council: The new law also enhances the role of the Expert Council for Climate Issues. In the future, it will validate the forecasts and determine whether the total annual emissions are exceeded or undershot. In addition, it can now submit its suggestions for further developing suitable climate protection measures.

Timeline and developments of the Climate Protection Act

  • October 2019: First enacted in 2019 as part of Germany' Climate Action Programme 2030, the German Cabinet formally adopted the German Protection Act. It sets binding targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and establishes annual sectoral emission budgets.
  • June 2021: In March 2021, the Constitutional Court held that the Climate Protection Act was partly unconstitutional. The Bundestag (Federal Parliament) adopted the Climate Protection Act amendments, enhancing targets and adjusting sectoral budgets. The Bundesrat (Federal Council) approved these amendments the following day. The revised targets include a 65% reduction by 2030 and achieving climate neutrality by 2045.
  • Autumn 2023: The German government proposes a significant reform to the Climate Action Act. Fundamental changes include adjustments to the annual emissions budget management, introducing sectoral measures to address projected emission gaps and enhanced flexibility mechanisms. 
  • May 2024: A comprehensive update to the Climate Action Act is approved. This update includes measures to ensure Germany remains on track to meet its climate targets. It addresses sector-specific gaps, particularly in the transport sector, and introduces new policies to accelerate the transition to renewable energy and enhance energy efficiency​.

The clock is ticking! Contact our policy experts to start reporting on your impact.

Check out more Regulations

Interested in learning more?

Get in touch with our team
Schedule a call