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Deutsche Umwelthilfe (DUH) v. Germany

Jurisdiction: Higher Administrative Court of Berlin-Bradenburg

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

Side A: Deutsche Umwelthilfe (Ngo)

Side B: Ministry of Digital and Transport (Government)

Core objectives: Whether Federal Ministry of Digital and Transport's "Sofortprogramm" complies with Section 8(1) of KSG, which requires federal government agencies to draft immediate action programs when their emissions exceed the permissible annual emission budget.

On September 5, 2022, environmental organization Deutsche Umwelthilfe (DUH; Environmental Action Germany) filed a lawsuit against the German government in the Higher Administrative Court of Berlin-Brandenburg.

The case challenges the “Sofortprogramm” (immediate action program) presented by the Federal Ministry of Digital and Transport. § 8 of the Federal Climate Change Act (KSG) requires federal government ministries to draft immediate action programs where the emissions in their respective sectors have exceeded the permissible annual emissions budget. These plans are to demonstrate compliance with the annual sectoral emission budgets for the following years. Any immediate action program is to be presented to the Council of Experts on Climate Change which is tasked with assessing and examining “the assumptions on greenhouse gas reduction that underlie the measures.” (§ 12(2) KSG).

In its consideration of the Transport Ministry’s immediate action program, the Council of Experts found that the measures suggested in the immediate action program were not sufficient to comply with § 8 (1) KSG. It calculated the cumulative emissions gap to amount to 261 million tons CO2-equivalent by 2030. On the basis of these findings and its own calculations, DUH is arguing for the short-term enforcement of an immediate action programme that complies with the (CO2) requirements of the Federal Climate Change Act.

In its submission to the court, DUH outlines several measures and their calculated emissions reductions that could, they submit, be included in an immediate climate action program:
1) 100/80/30 speed limits on highways/outside of cities/in cities
2) Reduction of climate damaging subsidies for, amongst others, diesel and company cars
3) Introduction of a CO2-based new registration tax
4) Nationwide 365€ ticket and rapid expansion of local public transport and rail
5) Mileage-based passenger car toll
6) Moratorium on new construction and expansion of federal road network
7) Adaptation of the Road Traffic Act and Road Traffic Regulations to reflect climate and environmental considerations

Case documents

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