Germany seems to be missing its climate protection targets for 2020 – can a climate protection law help avoid such failures in the future? Will the Climate Protection Plan 2050 and its sectoral goals be bindingly anchored in the law? A round of international experts discussed these questions at the Climate Talk at Ecologic Institute in Berlin.
On 21 June 2018, Ecologic Institute launched a new series of evening discussion rounds under the "Climate Talk" format – two hours of open discussion under the Chatham House rule. The first installment was organised within the context of the Energy Future Exchange (EFEX) project and was titled: "A German Climate Law: What should it contain and what should it achieve". Dr. Dirk Weinreich (BMU), responsible for the dossier at the Ministry; Anna Comino (British Embassy) who reported on ten years of experience with the world's first climate protection law; and Dr. Stephan Sina (Ecologic Institute), who has already published various legal analyses and studies on the subject.
In their inaugural speeches, both the new Federal Environment Minister Svenja Schulze and the Chancellor specifically mentioned a climate protection law in order to promote the discussion about a legal framework for climate protection efforts. Such an instrument has been repeatedly discussed in politics and science in recent years, and proposals for its possible form have been made. Many of the possible elements were taken up and discussed in the Climate Talk.
There are already several countries around the world that have already adopted a climate protection law, including - in Europe - Ireland, France, Sweden and the UK. Anna Comino from the British Embassy reported on the challenges of implementing a climate protection law, but also presented the successes of the last 10 years. Even if the economic, political and social structures in countries can diverge considerably, there are many lessons learned that Germany can take with it on the way to shaping and implementing the climate protection law. Ecologic Institute has analysed a number of international case studies and identified commonalities that were published at the end of 2017, including specifically also the transatlantic examples of California and Mexico.
There were many good questions and comments and the active participation in the Climate Talk also shows that a Climate Protection Act in Germany would be an important milestone for many actors in the field of German climate protection.