Global climate policy in 2021 focuses on making more ambitious promises than the member states of the Paris Agreement ahead of the November Conference of the Parties. With the addition of the United States, About two thirds Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions come from countries that have committed to zero net emissions by the middle of the century. These countries must now adopt policies to achieve emissions reductions. In just three decades a complete energy system in the world with one Recent court ruling, Germany has reached zero for this challenge, because German law now needs a very ambitious program to change.
Climate as an issue of intergenerational equality
For most of history, successive generations have been better than previous generations. The technology march has brought benefits to humanity that will give you more goods for the people, choose the comfort and options of living and working.
But climate change is threatening to change that. Earth’s climate is changing faster than ever before in human history, and we may soon be living in a completely different environment. Some of the strongest voices in the climate movement today come from young people claiming that change will rob them of their future.
For years, governments have tended to kick “beat politics” into climate policy, and while GHG concentrations in the atmosphere continue to rise, they are halting their actions. Climate is exactly the problem that humanity is facing – the tragedy of the masses that pits future generations against the present and developing countries against the rich world. However, the costs of passivity are clearing up, and in recent years many countries have become more serious about reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Outstanding ruling of the German Supreme Court
Against this background, on April 29, 2021, the German Federal Constitutional Court production date, States that the German Climate Action Act does not adequately protect the freedom of young people and future generations. The 2019 law required Germany To reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 55% by 2030, compared to 1990 levels. It has also set annual limits on emissions from sectors such as energy, transportation, buildings and agriculture.
The decision of the court based on the 1994 amendment in Article 20 of the German Constitution, Which added the protection of the environment to the basic principles of constitutional order (democracy, federalism, rule of law, etc.), states: Commented Which “awakened” the ruling of Article 20 and turned it into a criterion for judging the adequacy of legal action. Court Argued“A generation is not allowed to consume large amounts of CO2 While the budget has a relatively small share of the effort to reduce it, if this causes the next generations to face a drastic reduction and expose their lives to widespread loss of freedom. “Basically, this sentence to Carbon budget theory The amount of greenhouse gas emissions, which he says is currently overspending, leaves an insufficient budget for the future and makes it too difficult.
This ruling opens a new context for intergenerational justice in climate law. This finding goes beyond a The case was decided in late 2019 in the Netherlands, That was It first instructs a country to reduce its greenhouse gas emissionsOn the grounds that inadequate action on climate change could violate human rights. However, the case did not address post-2020 goals and did not focus on intergenerational justice. Likewise, atmospheric court cases in the United States now focus more on fossil fuel companies than on the government’s response to climate challenges.
The Merkel government is responding with an ambitious commitment
German politicians are now playing the blame. Various parties blame each other for not moving the 2019 law further forward, in a country that cares so much about the federal election climate in late September. However, there are some revisionists here. The law was a delicate compromise that split the ruling Christian Democratic Union-Christian Democratic Union (CDU / CSU) and the Social Democratic Party (SPD) after months of debate. Minister of Environment, member of SPD, Pushed hard Carter Conservative CDU / CSU Members Complain of Special Sector Rules During Negotiations Aimed to harm industries Under the supervision of the ministries under the control of their parties. The leader of the opposition Green Party complained in parliament that the law did not go further, saying: “You have failed in the duty of humanity to protect the climate“Chancellor Angela Merkel has noted the pragmatists,”Politics is what is possible“
Just two weeks after the ruling, the Merkel government Adopt an update on the Climate Action Act The goal is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 65% by 2030 and zero emissions by 2045, five years earlier than the previous target. If approved by parliament, these goals will be among the most ambitious in the world Only the UK with the aim of further reduction – 68% by 2030 and 78% by 2035, on the way to zero by 2050.
There may be no example of a government that is legally required to achieve a more difficult job. Americans like to compare greenhouse gas emissions with the moon landing. President John F. Kennedy announced in September 1962 that the United States would put humans on the moon for a decade, and that goal was achieved in July 1969. However, Germany’s task is much more difficult, involving a fundamental change in the entire German economy over a decade instead of the efforts of Hercules by a group of engineers. In addition, Mahtab’s goal was not legally binding.
A victory for climatic measures, but the devil is in the details
Ambitious goals are one thing, but achieving those goals is another. Germany has a long history of investing in renewable energy as part of “Energy Transfer, “Literally means” energy transfer or rotation. “However Energy Transfer It also includes the completion of the German nuclear power plant with the latest nuclear power plants It is scheduled to close by the end of 2022. The German people too Opposes carbon uptake and storage. These two technologies are expected to be important in US efforts to decarbonize, but are largely off the table in Germany. In talks in recent months, representatives of government, industry, and NGOs alike have focused on renewable energy and green hydrogen (produced from renewable energy sources) as the leading route. These technologies are excellent, but their implementation deadlines are longer than the court ruling and the updated climate law, especially in Germany’s major steel, chemical and transport industries.
What if Germany loses its goals? that in That caseThe federal government should purchase emissions subsidies from other countries, the ministry should create an emergency plan to achieve future goals, and then the government will take corrective action. The corrective action needed to achieve such ambitious goals can be really difficult. Will German politicians be able to implement them? Do the German people accept them? European governments are usually more ambitious than US climate policy, but we react when they affect the daily lives of citizens. Yellow vest protest Which erupted in France in late 2018 after the fuel tax increase is a good example. German climate policy policies are likely to test the determination of German society.
This law can also affect other equity issues. The rapid transition to a zero-carbon economy requires extensive investment in buildings, transportation infrastructure, and industrial processes. Some of these processes will require government support. For example, the German steel industry intends to use hydrogen in its process. The change will be costly and will require government support for capital and operating costs, even if steel production today faces European carbon prices of more than 50 euros per tonne. Large government spending requires debt financing, which has implications for future generations. Germany has a “debt brake” in its constitution It puts the federal government loan at 0.35% of GDP. Debt braking can be suspended in times of crisis, but is investing in decarbonization a crisis? Or will the concept of intergenerational justice in a recent court ruling work against such investments, as it will leave future generations in debt more? There is no simple answer for these years.
Scientists and activists are pushing for a rapid reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, especially when it is easier to reduce emissions in the electricity and transportation sectors. This ruling makes Germany a major case in point, and a very rapid reduction is now being recorded in the law. God forbid and good luck.
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