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Putting the Promise into Practice – Climate Protection on the Ground

Francesca Mascha Klein, Paula Ciré


To ensure continued decarbonisation in line with the Paris Agreement and to close the gap between promises and practice, it is essential for countries to set specific emission limits and lay out a plan to reach climate neutrality. Legal provisions must further provide clarity on how and by whom climate obligations are put into practice. With carbon budgets shrinking, every new project that leads to more greenhouse gases must be scrutinized as to its climate impact, compatibility with emissions reduction obligations, and necessity. This requires legal guidance and support for authorities responsible for the approvals of those projects. This article proposes one potential mechanism, based on experiences with the German Climate Protection Act, that could help to improve the predictability of decision-making regarding the approval and planning of potentially climate-damaging projects.

The authors are lawyers at an environmental law charity. Disclaimer: As stated in the main body of this article, the proposal and discussion included in this article is intended to be exploratory in nature, exploring one possible means for providing additional predictability in planning and permitting decisions in the context of climate change, to contribute to and provoke further discussion of these issues.  Accordingly, it does not represent the views or position of the authors or their employer, either in the context of law or policy reform processes or on the content of existing legal requirements. For correspondence: <> and <>.


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