What Kind of Climate Protection Law is Needed?
At the launch of the new event series ZUKUNFTSFORUM ECORNET on 9 May 2019, scientists, politicians and representatives of civil society debated the need for a legal framework for climate protection in Germany and its possible components under the guiding question "What kind of climate protection law is needed?" Matthias Duwe, Senior Fellow at Ecologic Institute, emphasised the advantages of a legal framework in his presentation on the experiences of other EU countries.
This past February the Federal Ministry of Environment submitted its draft for a climate protection law to the Federal Chancellery. The law sets binding emission reduction targets and breaks them down into annual budgets and sector targets. Dr. Dirk Weinreich, head of the responsible department at the Federal Ministry of Environment, presented the draft and emphasised the need for a robust legal framework that promotes the transformation of the economy and society required to mitigate climate change. He then discussed with Lisa Badum, Member of the German Bundestag for Bündnis 90/Die Grünen, and Dr. Anja Weisgerber from the CDU/CSU parliamentary group the added value of a climate protection law compared to sectoral laws, and concrete measures such as carbon pricing or the expansion of the emissions trading system.
In her presentation "Mind the Gap", Sabine Gores, Senior Researcher at the Öko-Institut, highlighted the need for action, particularly in the transport and building sectors. The two sectors cannot abdicate their responsibilities: the European Effort-Sharing Regulation will require Germany to acquire emission trading certificates if targets are not met. Against the background of the ambitious emission reduction targets in other EU member states, it is to be expected that only a limited number of emissions trading certificates will be available and that the costs of acquiring them will therefore put a considerable strain on the state budget.
With a climate protection law, Germany would be in good company. Matthias Duwe, Senior Fellow at Ecologic Institute, emphasised the advantages of a legal framework in his presentation on the experiences of other EU countries – the hurdle of giving up on statutory emission reduction targets is considerable. In addition, it could promote the political debate. However, he also drew attention to the fact that an ambitious climate protection law requires broad political support in order to be successful in its implementation. In Sweden, for example, a cross-party commission was tasked with drafting the climate protection law. Overall, the climate protection laws of other EU countries have similar core elements that have proven to work in practice and could provide a robust framework for German climate protection policy.
Finally, Dr. Dirk Weinreich, Matthias Duwe and Jakob Graichen, Senior Researcher at the Öko-Institut, entered a discussion with the approximately 80 participants on individual regulations in the draft climate protection law of the Federal Ministry of Environment, ways to keep the climate protection law on the political agenda, and the relationship of a climate protection law to other legal options currently under debate. In a vote by show of hands, the majority of the participants was in favour of a climate protection law and also of strict rules holding the responsible sectors accountable.
The evening was moderated by Dr. Camilla Bausch, Director of Ecologic Institute.
Ecologic Institute would like to thank the Stiftung Mercator for their generous support of this event.
About the event series Zukunftsforum Ecornet
Future: The term "Future" has long become a central concept in environmental and sustainability policy debates. Whereas in the past threat scenarios dominated the debate, today the focus is increasingly on the possibilities for shaping the future: What kind of world do we want to make possible for present and future generations?
Forum: Shaping an ecologically sustainable and socially equitable future can only succeed through conversations between politics, science, business and civil society. Ecornet aims to bring together the various actors and offer them a forum for jointly tackling the social problems of our time.
Ecornet: Concrete social problems require concrete proposals for solutions. Ecornet aims to help shape social change towards sustainability and to provide the required scientific basis for this purpose. With thematic and methodological diversity and work at the interfaces between science and society, the eight Ecornet institutes provide answers to the pressing questions of our time.