German Farmers Sue Government Over Missed Climate Targets

German Farmers Sue Government Over Missed Climate Targets

Dismayed by the German government’s failure to meet climate protection targets, dairy farmer Heiner Luetke Schwienhorst has filed a lawsuit against Berlin to force it into action.

“Some describe this as a fight between David and Goliath. To me, that’s besides the point,” said Mr Schwienhorst, who suffered his poorest harvest in three decades after a record drought.

Bildergebnis für German Farmers Sue Government Over Missed Climate Targets

“The attitude of political representatives, the way they trivialise climate targets by giving up what they have set, is something that we need to bring to political accountability. That is important,” he told AFP.

Together with two other farmers and Greenpeace, Mr Schwienhorst has launched a challenge against the German government for having “given up” trying to achieve cuts in greenhouse gas emissions set out under its own climate target, as well as under European law.

A dairy farmer near Hamburg and a livestock farmer on the North Sea island of Pellworm have joined the first such lawsuit to seek “climate protection, not monetary compensation”.

Berlin had pledged to take action to slash greenhouse gas emissions in Germany by 40 per cent by 2020 compared to 1990 levels.

But in its latest annual climate protection report published in June, the government admitted that it was now expecting to achieve 32 per cent in reductions compared to 1990.

The shortfall of 8 percentage points is equivalent to about 100 million tonnes of carbon dioxide.

“It was clear in the climate protection report that the government is not planning to take further measures in order to reach the target. Instead, it has simply given up,” said Ms Anike Peters of Greenpeace.

“We’re saying we’re not going to accept this. Because it’s not about a lack of technical possibilities to reach the target, rather it’s about a lack of political will.”

With the help of lawyer Roda Verheyen, the plaintiffs lodged their case at the administrative court in Berlin at the end of October.

The court now needs to decide if there is any merit to the case.

Ms Verheyen is no stranger to such climate cases.

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