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Deutsche Umwelthilfe (DUH) v. Bayerische Motoren Werke AG (BMW)

Jurisdiction: Regional Court of Munich

Principle law(s): Federal Climate Protection Act and to change further regulations ("Bundesklimaschutzgesetz” or “KSG")

Side A: Deutsche Umwelthilfe (DUH) (Ngo)

Side B: Bayerische Motoren Werke AG (BMW) (Corporation)

Core objectives: Whether BMW is infringing the right to climate protection by not achieving carbon neutrality in internal combustion engine cars.

On September 20, 2021, the German environmental organization Deutsche Umwelthilfe (DUH) filed an action against BMW for refusing to tighten their carbon emissions target and give up fossil fuel-emitting cars by 2030. DUH argues that the automaker is violating the fundamental right to climate protection and impinging on the rights and freedoms of future generations 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).

DUH asks, (i) if BMW cannot prove GHG neutrality for the use of cars by October 31, 2030, that BMW stops producing internal combustion engine (ICE) cars and (ii) if BMW cannot prove GHG neutrality for the CO2 emissions exceeding 604 million tonnes (equivalent to the real use of passenger cars based on an average mileage of 200,000 km), that the court order BMW to stop bringing new ICE passenger cars onto the market between January 1, 2022 and October 31, 2030. Alternatively, DUH asks the court to order BMW to stop bringing new ICE passenger cars onto the market after October 31, 2030 if they cannot prove GHG neutrality. The requested ban on producing new ICE cars would be earlier than the 2035 effective ban proposed by the EU in July 2021.
Case documents

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