Climate law jeopardizes freedoms, German court rules—but not how you think

Wind turbines near a coal plant.

Enlarge / Wind turbines spin as steam rises from the cooling towers of the Jäenschwalde coal-fired power plant in the distance. (credit: Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

Germany’s top court struck down part of the nation’s sweeping climate law, saying it violates people’s freedoms. 

By many standards, the law is aggressive, requiring the country to slash emissions 55 percent below 1990 levels by 2030 and reach net zero by 2050. The country has already trimmed 35 percent of its carbon pollution, leaving just another 20 percent to be cut over the next nine years. And that’s where the court found fault with the law, saying that it left too much of the burden to future generations.

“The regulations irreversibly postpone high emission reduction burdens until periods after 2030,” the Constitutional Court wrote in a release explaining the ruling. 

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