Federal Climate Protection Act
|Title:||Federal Climate Protection Act|
|Scope:||Federal Republic of Germany|
|Issued on the basis of:||Basic Law|
|Legal matter:||environmental Protection|
|Issued on:||December 12, 2019
( Federal Law Gazette I p. 2513 )
|Effective on:||18th December 2019|
|Please note the note on the applicable legal version.|
The Federal Climate Protection Act (KSG) is a German federal law that aims to ensure that national climate protection targets are met and that European targets are met. With the Climate Protection Act, the climate targets for 2030 will be standardized by law. Greenhouse gas emissions are to be gradually reduced by at least 55% by 2030 compared to 1990 ( ). To this end, the law sets annual reduction targets for the period up to 2030 by specifying binding annual emissions for the various sectors ( ).
The basis is the obligation under the Paris Agreement based on the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change , according to which the increase in global average temperature is to be limited to well below 2 ° C and, if possible, to 1.5 ° C compared to the pre-industrial level, in order to limit the effects of global climate change as low as possible, as well as the commitment of the Federal Republic of Germany at the United Nations climate summit on September 23, 2019 in New York to pursue greenhouse gas neutrality as a long-term goal by 2050 ( ). The law established the Expert Council on Climate Issues .
The adoption of the law was agreed between the CDU , CSU and SPD in the coalition agreement of the 19th parliamentary term of the Bundestag . On February 18, 2019, Federal Environment Minister Svenja Schulze (SPD) presented a draft bill for the Federal Climate Protection Act. An essential part of the Federal Climate Protection Act is the departmental responsibility (Section 4, Paragraph 4 of the BKG draft). For the sectors of energy, industry, transport, buildings, agriculture as well as waste management and miscellaneous, an annually decreasing annual emission limit is set (Section 4 (1) BKG draft), the compliance with which the federal ministry assigned to the sector is responsible. If the annual emission limit is exceeded, the responsible ministry must purchase emission rights from its own budget (§§ 6, 7 BKG draft). The CDU rejected this binding definition of departmental goals in March.
After the Federal Chancellery had not passed on the law due to the rejection by the Union-led ministries, Federal Environment Minister Schulze initiated the departmental vote on May 27. Thereupon the Federal Chancellery contradicted in a letter "the initiation of the departmental coordination, the dispatch to the federal states and associations as well as the publication on the Internet".
On the basis of the resolutions of the Climate Cabinet , the Federal Climate Protection Act was passed by the Federal Cabinet on October 9, 2019 and introduced into the Bundestag. On November 15, 2019, the Bundestag approved it in the face of severe criticism from the opposition. For long-distance rail transport , an unlimited reduction in sales tax from 19 to 7 percent from the beginning of 2020, for example for Deutsche Bahn tickets , was decided in order to promote rail travel. However, it was also decided to increase the commuter allowance and a limited mobility allowance for low-income commuters. The Federal Council approved the Climate Protection Act at its meeting on November 29, but called the Mediation Committee on the Act to Implement the Climate Protection Program 2030 in tax law (e.g. long-distance tickets, commuters) ; In the case of the additional income for the federal government and the lower tax income for the federal states and municipalities, a fair, appropriate and proportionate distribution was required, as the Federal Council had already called for at the first reading. The mediation committee met on December 9th.
The following major changes were made in the mediation committee:
- The tax incentives for the costs of energy consultants have been increased to 50%.
- The commuter allowance will be increased to EUR 0.38 between 2024 and 2026 instead of the planned EUR 0.35.
- The planned special regulations for wind turbines in the property tax law will not be implemented.
- The financial equalization between the federal government and the federal states will be regulated anew.
With these changes, the law was passed in the Bundestag on December 19, 2019 and in the Bundesrat on December 20, 2019. It was published in the Federal Law Gazette on December 30, 2019 and thus came into force on January 1, 2020. However, the changes to the commuter allowance and mobility allowance did not come into force until January 1, 2021.
Decision of the Federal Constitutional Court
In a ruling of March 24, 2021, the Federal Constitutional Court declared Paragraph 1 Clause 2 and Paragraph 1 Clause 3 KSG in conjunction with Annex 2 (Permissible Annual Emission Quantities) to be incompatible with the fundamental rights, insofar as a regulation on the updating of national reduction targets is absent for periods from the year 2031 onwards. The legislature was obliged to regulate the updating of the reduction targets for these periods by December 31, 2022 at the latest. However, Section 3 Paragraph 1 Clause 2 and Section 4 Paragraph 1 Clause 3 KSG in conjunction with Appendix 2 remain applicable.
The reason given was that the law would irreversibly postpone high emissions reduction burdens to periods after 2030. This was at the expense of the younger generation. The heating limit, was then only with increasingly urgent and short-term measures feasible. Virtually all constitutional freedoms are potentially affected by this, because currently almost all areas of human life are still associated with the emission of greenhouse gases and are therefore threatened by drastic restrictions after 2030. The relative weight of the climate protection requirement will continue to increase in the context of advancing climate change. According to Article 20a of the Basic Law, the natural foundations of life have to be handled carefully, they have to be left for posterity in a state "that future generations could not only preserve them at the price of radical self-abstinence". It should not happen that one generation is granted the right to “ consume large parts of the CO 2 budget with a comparatively mild reduction burden , if this would leave the following generations with a radical reduction burden and their lives would be exposed to extensive loss of freedom”. The legislature should therefore have taken precautions to alleviate these high burdens. The court obliged the legislature to regulate the reduction targets for greenhouse gas emissions for the period after 2030 in more detail by the end of 2022. The reduction targets up to 2030, on the other hand, are not objectionable, complaints directed against this have been rejected. Four constitutional complaints were submitted by mostly young people, supported by several environmental organizations, including the BUND , the Solar Energy Association Germany (SFV), Deutsche Umwelthilfe , Fridays for Future and Greenpeace (see also court proceedings on climate change ).
The Federal Constitutional Court emphasized in its guiding principles with regard to dealing with scientific imponderables that Art. 20a GG obliges the legislature to be particularly careful, also for the benefit of future generations. He must already consider the possibility of serious or irreversible impairments if there is reliable evidence of it. With regard to the global nature of the climate problem, the court stated that the duty to protect the climate requires the state to work towards climate protection within the framework of international coordination. At the same time, the state must take its own climate protection measures - also in order not to undermine international cooperation through its own action. The state cannot evade its responsibility by referring to greenhouse gas emissions in other states.
- Section 1: General Regulations
- Section 2: Climate protection targets and annual emissions
- Section 3: Climate protection planning
- Section 4: Expert advice on climate issues
- Section 5: Role model function of the public sector
- Appendix 1: Sectors
- Appendix 2: Permissible annual emissions
- Website on the Climate Protection Act. Federal Environment Ministry
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- Law on the implementation of the Climate Protection Program 2030 in tax law. Retrieved January 2, 2019 .
- BVerfG, decision of March 24, 2021 - 1 BvR 2656/18 et al. (Climate protection)
- Climate Protection Act unconstitutional in parts. In: n-tv.de. April 29, 2021, accessed April 29, 2021 .
- Federal Constitutional Court: Decision of the First Senate of March 24, 2021. Az. 1 BvR 2656/18 , 1 BvR 78/20, 1 BvR 96/20, 1 BvR 288/20. March 24, 2021, accessed April 29, 2021 .
- tagesschau.de: German Climate Protection Act is partly unconstitutional. Retrieved April 29, 2021 .
- Süddeutsche Zeitung: Climate Protection Act in parts unconstitutional. Retrieved April 29, 2021 .
- Groundbreaking climate ruling by the Federal Constitutional Court. In: Website climate action of the Solarenergie-Förderverein Deutschland eV (SFV). Retrieved April 29, 2021 .