Climate Law in Germany
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Despite its impressive quantity current climate protection law is not suited to solve the climate problem – neither on a global level through public international law nor in the EU or Germany. In Germany, not only the absolute emission levels raise concerns. Relative development, too, is much worse than is often assumed. German climate law is characterized by a variety of rules, although a substantial part (more or less) implements EU law. The – internationally often copied – German Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG) contains a fixed tariff for renewable electricity similar to a subsidy. In addition to that and to a number of energy efficiency rules, there are a number of legal rules that directly flank the regulatory, financial, and informational regulations on efficiency, sufficiency, and renewable energies. It remains true, however, that renewable energies and energy efficiency do not per se reduce greenhouse gas emissions or replace fossil fuels; in fact there may also be shifts in emissions and fuel transfers to other countries and/or increases in overall energy consumption. These rebound and shifting effects are a common major barrier to effective climate policy, including energy efficiency policy. A completely new cap and trade approach on the EU level (combined with border adjustments) might be the best way to solve these problems.