A Berlin court on Thursday threw out a case brought by three farmers against Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government over its failure to meet climate protection targets, hyped by campaigners as the first such legal challenge in Germany.
After the government admitted it would fail to meet its own and EU greenhouse gas reduction goals for 2020, the would-be plaintiffs – farmers backed by environmental group Greenpeace– had tried to sue to force corrective action.
They said the government was breaking the law and infringing on their fundamental rights by damaging their crops.
A crowd of around 30 Greenpeace activists rallied outside the courthouse as the hearing got underway in the morning.
But judges found there was “no visible legal basis that would create an obligation for the federal government to act” if they heard the case, the Berlin administrative court said in a statement.
The original cabinet decisions to set the climate targets were not legally binding, they said, while EU commitments could be met in other ways like participating in the bloc-wide emissions trading scheme.
Neither did damage from heat, droughts and torrential rains to the farmers’ crops and livestock infringe on their property rights guaranteed under Germany’s constitution, the judges found.