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

  • On June 24th, the German Parliament will decide on the proposed reform of Germany's Climate Protection Act.
  • The German government presented a new draft of the currently existing Climate Protection Act (entered into force on December 12 2019) after the Federal Constitutional Court held that it is partly unconstitutional in March 2021. The court is calling for stricter climate measures to protect civil liberties for the period after 2030 and the Climate Protection Act has to be amended by the end of 2022.
  • If the German Parliament establishes the law, the German Council can still object and convene a mediation committee. It is not known yet when it will be on the agenda of the Council. There will still be media coverage of the Parliament's decision.

Climate Protection Act - What's new?

  • To implement the Constitutional Court's order, the Climate Protection Act reform establishes new national climate protection goals.
  • A new interim target of 65% (instead of the previous 55%) greenhouse gas reduction compared to 1990 is set for 2030. 
  • By 2040, the reduction should be 88%. By 2045, greenhouse gas emissions must be reduced to achieve greenhouse gas neutrality. 
  • After 2050 negative greenhouse gas emissions must be achieved.
  • For the years 2030, 2040 and 2045, it is also determined which contributions are to be achieved in the land use, land use change and forestry sectors.
  • In 2032, the federal government will present a legislative proposal to legally establish different annual reduction targets up to net greenhouse gas neutrality in 2045.
  • The reduction targets for the individual sectors (energy, industry, buildings, transport, agriculture and waste management) are being redefined to comply with these requirements.
  • The energy industry is facing the strictest restrictions - it has to reduce its annual emissions from 280 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent in 2020 to 108 million tonnes in 2030.
  • Annual reduction targets are set across all sectors for 2031 to 2040. How these will be divided between the sectors will be decided in 2024.

Criticisms

  • "It is not defined how/with what instruments the goals are planned to be reached."
  • "The draft does not define sufficient goals and does not set a CO2 budget."
  • "It is rushed, not thought through, and only a campaign manoeuvre."
  • "It does not consider how to deal with the competitive disadvantages companies and industries will face due to the changes."

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