• German government does not take sufficient action for climate protection in the Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry (LULUCF) sector
• Climate protection program demonstrably insufficient to achieve climate targets in this sector by 2030 and beyond
• Environmental Action Germany calls for effective government incentive programs to promote organic agriculture and forest
Berlin, 24.11.2022: Environmental Action Germany (DUH) has filed a lawsuit against the German Federal Government, calling on it to provide a climate protection program that meets climate targets in the Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry (LULUCF) sector. In order to achieve greenhouse gas neutrality in Germany by 2045 as agreed in the Climate Change Act, the ability of ecosystems to bind and store greenhouse gases must be used to a much greater extent than it has been to date. The LULUCF sector includes forests, cropland, grassland, wetlands, settlements and harvested wood products. Forests, wetlands or soils sequester and store carbon over the long term. In contrast, drained organic soils, such as dry peatlands, are the largest sources of greenhouse gases within this sector. With five percent of Germany's forest area dying because of the drought from 2018 to 2021 and further damages, the positive balance of the LULUCF sector is in jeopardy.
Sascha Müller-Kraenner, CEO of DUH: "With our lawsuit, we are calling on the German government to fulfill its constitutional responsibility and create more climate-friendly agriculture. In order to avoid emissions from the drainage of peat soils, a structural change in agriculture is necessary - comparable to the coal phase-out. In addition, ecosystems need to be significantly strengthened in order to maintain their vital functions. Only if ecosystems are adapted to global warming they will continue to bind and store greenhouse gases. All of this takes time. Time that is in short supply in view of the enormous damage to forests and the rapid progress of the climate crisis. That's why the German government needs to take effective action as soon as possible!"
According to DUH, a major challenge lies in coordinating nature and climate protection with social and economic concerns, while making less intensive use of agricultural and forestry land. The consistent promotion of organic farming or the expansion of incentive programs for biodiversity conservation in forestry are promising, but should consider rural development.
Dr. Caroline Douhaire, who is providing legal support for the lawsuit: "In its April 2021 climate decision, the German Federal Constitutional Court made clear that the state is obligated by the German Constitution to achieve greenhouse gas neutrality and to uphold the 1.5 °C temperature target of the Paris Agreement. Based on current knowledge, these goals cannot be achieved without a significant improvement of the greenhouse gas balance in the LULUCF sector. Therefore, binding targets for this sector have been set in the Climate Change Act and by the EU. Unfortunately, according to the available forecasts, Germany is not only far away from reaching the LULUCF targets, but even moves away from them. The German government therefore has to take urgent action to still be able to meet its climate protection commitments."
According to the Climate Change Act (KSG), Germany has to achieve net greenhouse gas neutrality by 2045, and even negative greenhouse gas emissions after 2050. According to current knowledge, this can only be achieved by removing significant amounts of CO2. However, the German government has set insufficient targets for achieving greenhouse gas neutrality in the Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry (LULUCF) sector. The measures envisaged in the currently planned Climate Change Program are insufficient.
Ecosystems such as forests, soils and their vegetation store large quantities of greenhouse gases. However, they are increasingly being weakened in this function by the combination of global warming and continued intensive use. Therefore, the task now is to support them in their adaptation to climate change and, at the same time, to expand their important capacity. In addition, existing sources of emissions in this sector, such as those from drained peat soils or the depletion of humus by agriculture, must be reduced as much as possible.
You will find the statement of claim at the bottom of this page (in German).
Sascha Müller-Kraenner, Bundesgeschäftsführer DUH
0160 90354509, firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr. Caroline Douhaire, Rechtsanwältin Geulen & Klinger
030 8847280, email@example.com
030 2400867-20, firstname.lastname@example.org