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Environmentalists file suit against Merkel's 'weak' climate laws

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Environmental groups announced Wednesday they had filed lawsuits at Germany's highest court accusing Chancellor Angela Merkel's government of failing to protect basic rights through its weak climate protection law.

[BERLIN] Environmental groups announced Wednesday they had filed lawsuits at Germany's highest court accusing Chancellor Angela Merkel's government of failing to protect basic rights through its weak climate protection law.

Greenpeace together with German groups BUND and Deutsche Umwelthilfe filed the legal actions, which are also backed by Luisa Neubauer, a prominent activist of the Fridays for Future climate strike movement.

A dozen Bangladeshis and Nepalis, whose countries have been hard hit by global warming, also joined the initiative.

"Climate protection is the protection of fundamental rights, particularly those of younger generations and inhabitants of most affected countries," said Remo Klinger, a lawyer for the plaintiffs.

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Germany should "make a contribution commensurate with its responsibility in terms of climate change", added Mr Klinger, urging the Federal Constitutional Court to "show the way to go".

Last year, the environmental groups backed three farmer families who took their case to a Berlin administrative court, but that case was struck down by the judge.

Undeterred, they have now turned to Germany's highest court, evoking a decision of the Dutch supreme court, which in 2019 ordered the Dutch state to cut its greenhouse gas emissions.

Mrs Merkel's government last year agreed on a sweeping package of climate policy reforms that are estimated to cost 100 billion euros(S$150.1 billion) by 2030.

With plans to make train travel cheaper and air travel more costly, the package is intended to help Europe's largest economy slash its greenhouse gas emissions by 55 per cent by 2030 compared to 1990 levels.

AFP