Barbara Metz et al., v. Wintershall Dea AG

Jurisdiction: Regional Court of Kassel

Side A: Barbara Metz et al (Individual)

Side B: Wintershall DEA AG (Corporation)

Core objectives:

Whether Wintershall Dea AG is violating fundamental rights for not adhering to a “fair” carbon budget. 

On October 4, 2021, the plaintiffs Barbara Metz, Sascha Müller-Kraenner, and Jürgen Resch, filed an action against Wintershall Dea AG, a German energy company, for refusing to tighten their carbon emissions target and give up the extraction of natural gas and crude oil by 2025. The plaintiffs argues that the company is violating the fundamental right to climate protection and impinging on the plaintiffs’ rights and freedoms by not adhering to a “fair” carbon budget. The claim is grounded on the Paris Agreement and the German Climate Protection Act. The plaintiff relies on the earlier decision by the Federal Constitutional Court (BVerfG) on the Climate Change Act, noting the fact that Germany has a limited total emissions budget of CO2 emissions at its disposal (Neubauer v. Germany).

The plaintiffs ask the company to refrain from (i) extracting natural gas and/or crude oil that emits more than 0.62 Gt CO2 (natural gas) or more than 0.31 Gt CO2 (crude oil) when burned (calculated as of Jan. 1, 2021), unless the company can demonstrate GHG neutrality for the CO2 emissions exceeding this amount, and (ii) opening new oil or gas fields after Dec. 31, 2025 or participating in such openings through equity holdings.
Case documents

from the Grantham Research Institute
from the Grantham Research Institute
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