German activists take climate case against government to European court

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Climate activists who won a landmark case against the German government last year are now taking their case to the European Court of Human Rights, an organization representing them said on Tuesday.

The group of nine young environmentalists are unhappy with the government’s climate plan in response to their legal victory, according to campaign group Deutsche Umwelthilfe (DUH).

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“The government is not fulfilling its obligations. The climate crisis continues to threaten to destroy our livelihoods and freedom,” one of the complainants said.

Germany’s constitutional court last year ruled that the government’s climate plans were insufficient and placed an unfair burden on future generations.

In response, the government led by then-chancellor Angela Merkel tightened the timeline of plans to slash emissions and brought forward its goal of becoming carbon neutral by five years to 2045.

But DUH said the plans were “insufficient” to meet the targets of the Paris climate agreement.

The constitutional court would not accept another complaint on the same case, DUH said, leaving the activists with no choice to but appeal to the ECHR.

“Even since our first victory against the government, we have been feeling the climate crisis more and more acutely with hot summers and floods,” said one complainant named as Marlene, 14.

“If we don’t act now, the situation will get worse,” she said.

In late 2021, a new coalition government was elected in Germany on a promise to make environmental concerns one of its top priorities.

But since then, climate issues have been overshadowed by the war in Ukraine, an acute energy crisis and record inflation.

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