As it becomes increasingly clear that EU member state policies will fail to avoid climate catastrophe and nature destruction, NGOs are increasingly turning to the courts to enforce real action.
Climate-related lawsuits aren’t new – there have been several high-profile ones. But what is new is that NGOs are now focusing on the role of the land carbon sink and the failure of member state governments to protect forests and their climate-buffering capacity.
Two new suits have been filed in recent days – in Germany and Finland.
The NGO Die Deutsche Umwelthilfe (DUH), German Environmental Aid, has filed a suit against the government. A paragraph (translated) from their press release states,
“According to the Climate Protection Act (KSG), net greenhouse gas neutrality should be achieved in Germany 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 federal government has set insufficient targets for achieving greenhouse gas neutrality in the land use, land use change and forestry sector (LULUCF). The measures envisaged in the current climate protection program are not sufficient for this.”
Thank you to DUH for posting a link to their complaint – because this is how other NGOs will be able to learn and strengthen their own legal efforts.
In Finland, new government data was released this year showing that logging (including for biomass energy) has caused collapse of the forest carbon sink. In response, the NGOs Finnish Association for Nature Conservation and Greenpeace are, according to their press release (translated),
“seeking legal protection from the Supreme Administrative Court, because the carbon neutral goal for 2035 according to the Finnish Climate Act threatens to be unfulfilled due to the collapse of the carbon sinks, and the Government has not taken sufficient measures to remedy the situation. This is Finland’s first climate trial.”
Like DUH, they have posted a link to their actual complaint – so this is great for all who want to learn.
A huge thanks and congratulations to these organizations for engaging in such difficult and honorable work. Using all the tools in the toolbox – including litigation – is the only path forward now to secure a livable future for people and ecosystems.