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Europe's courts are holding governments to account for climate change

Autor/in: Rick Noack, The Washington Post , Veröffentlicht am: 9 October 2018

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[A German] planned protest turned into a party after it was announced that a court had just temporarily blocked one of Europe’s powerful energy companies, RWE, from continuing to clear away one of Germany’s oldest forests [Hambach Forest] to make space for a coal mine ...
Courts in Germany and other European Union countries are posing a growing challenge to governments and business interests in regard to climate change in recent months, as scientists have stepped up their warnings that the world has little time left to prevent a human-made global disaster.
On [9 October 2018], an appeals court in the Netherlands ordered officials to cut greenhouse gas emissions more rapidly than so far envisioned, handing a victory to 900 citizens who had sued the government. Last month, a German court banned all old diesel vehicles from the city center of Frankfurt, after Germany’s top administrative court had found earlier this year that the highly polluting cars could be restricted from accessing busy roads across the country. Similar decisions could follow, potentially Tuesday, when a Berlin court is expected to make a ruling on the same grounds.
Several other lawsuits are still being processed, including one by a group of litigants from France, Germany, Sweden and other countries who argue that the E.U.'s failure to force member states to dramatically cut greenhouse gas emissions violates the law ... The E.U. itself is preparing to sue member states over their failure to cut emissions ...
When E.U. member states exceed their emissions targets, they can purchase the right to emit more from other countries that have not exhausted their limits. That way, the E.U wants to keep overall emissions limited and provide an incentive to countries to lower emissions themselves ... 
Germany may have to pay $70 billion over the next decade to compensate for its additional emissions ... [which can be explained by the fact that] it continues to heavily rely on coal, one of the most polluting energy sources ... [and] Germany’s decision to give up nuclear energy after the devastating 2011 Fukushima disaster and a lack of transport routes that would distribute renewable energy produced in northern Germany’s wind parks across the country.

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Betreffende Unternehmen: RWE