A court ruling handed down today has heralded a turning point in the area of climate protection in Germany. The 11th Senate of the Higher Administrative Court of Berlin-Brandenburg has upheld complaints by Deutsche Umwelthilfe (DUH) and the Bund für Umwelt und Naturschutz Deutschland (BUND), which called for an immediate program for the buildings and transport sectors. This ruling obliges the Federal Government to draw up a program in accordance with Section 8 of the Climate Protection Act to ensure compliance with the annual emission levels set out in the Act in these sectors for the years 2024 to 2030.
The need for this measure was highlighted by the Federal Environment Agency, which found that the permissible emission levels in the transport and buildings sectors would be exceeded in 2021 and 2022. According to the Climate Protection Act, the responsible federal ministry is obliged to submit an immediate action program if these limits are exceeded in order to ensure compliance with the emission levels in the following years.
The court found that the 2023 climate protection program adopted by the federal government in October 2023 did not meet the requirements for such an immediate action program. An adequate immediate action program would have to include short-term effective measures that specifically target compliance with annual emission levels in the respective sectors instead of relying on a cross-sectoral and multi-year overall calculation.
This ruling represents an important step towards strengthening climate protection in Germany, particularly in the critical areas of transport and buildings. It signals the urgency of taking concrete and effective measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and achieve the climate targets.