Germany must update its climate law by the end of next year to set out how it will bring carbon emissions down to almost zero by 2050, its top court ruled on Thursday, siding with a young woman who argued rising sea levels would engulf her family farm.
The court concluded that a law passed in 2019 had failed to make sufficient provision for cuts beyond 2030, casting a shadow over a signature achievement of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s final term in office.
“The challenged provisions do violate the freedoms of the complainants, some of whom are still very young,” the court said in a statement. “The provisions irreversibly offload major emission reduction burdens onto periods after 2030.”
Ministers said they would draw up the necessary legislation soon, with Economy Minister Peter Altmaier promising proposals next week.
Among the plaintiffs was Sophie Backsen, 22, daughter of a farming family on the North Sea island of Pellworm, who fears that rising sea levels