Climate change is one of the biggest challenges of our time. A commitment to climate protection is essential to effectively counteract climate change.
The contribution of Baden-Württemberg to worldwide greenhouse gas emissions is approximately 0.2 per cent (2017). Compared to Baden-Württemberg's share of the world's population our region has an above-average contribution to greenhouse gas emissions. The regional government of Baden-Württemberg sees in this a particular responsibility to act, and therefore has set specific goals for the reduction of greenhouse gases in a Climate Act.
Overview of the Baden-Württemberg Climate Act 2023
The state parliament of Baden-Württemberg passed the Baden-Württemberg Climate Protection and Climate Change Adaptation Act (Climate Act) on 1 February 2023. This law, which entered into force on 11 February 2023, is a further development of the Baden-Württemberg Climate Protection Act of 2013 – amended in 2020 and 2021.
The further development of this law underlines the fact that with progressive climate change, ambitious measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions must be supplemented more strongly than before by measures to adapt to the unavoidable consequences of climate change ("climate change adaptation").
With this law, the state complies with the requirements of the Federal Constitutional Court, which states that the national objective of environmental protection in the Basic Law obliges not only the federal government but also the states to protect the climate and that "the federal government's climate protection goals cannot be achieved without implementation measures and legislation in the states". According to the court, in addition to climate protection, climate change adaptation must be ensured.
The core elements of the Climate Act are the climate protection targets for the years 2030 and 2040. These set the direction for Baden-Württemberg's climate policy. The 2030 target has now also been made manageable for specific sectors, such as energy, industry, or transport by means of "sectoral targets". I.e., specific greenhouse gas emission reduction targets were allocated to each sector. In order to achieve these goals, the "Climate Action Registry" has been developed as an instrument, in which all measures adopted by the state government to protect the climate are made available in a standardised and continuously updated way.
The state government regularly monitors the progress in achieving the climate protection goals. If it becomes apparent that these will not be reached, the state government decides on additional measures.
In addition to the general climate targets mentioned above, the Climate Act also stipulates specific measures. These include, in particular, municipal heat planning and the obligation to install photovoltaic systems on newly constructed buildings and with fundamental roof renovations.
Climate protection requires the support and participation of all. The law therefore imposes a general obligation on all citizens to protect the climate, as well as particular rules on the state of Baden-Württemberg, the municipalities, and businesses.
The most important contents of the Climate Act at a glance:
The Climate Act sets clear targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions: Greenhouse gas emissions in Baden-Württemberg must be reduced by at least 65 per cent by 2030 compared to total emissions in 1990. Net greenhouse gas neutrality ("climate neutrality") must be achieved through gradual reductions by 2040.
The Climate Act stipulates that the state government shall engage in regular monitoring based on quantitative and qualitative surveys to check whether the measures introduced are effective and whether the climate protection goals are being achieved.
Monitoring will consist of the following elements:
- Annual sectoral-based reports on climate action (from 2023 onwards)
- A climate protection and projection report every three years (from 2024 onwards)
- A report on adaptation to the unavoidable consequences of climate change, to be published every five years at the latest (starting in 2025)
The climate protection and projection report, which the state government will publish every three years, contains projections of greenhouse gas emissions in Baden-Württemberg and their impact on climate targets. If it is found that the goals (probably) cannot be achieved, the report will also contain an analysis of the causes and the level affected, such as the federal or state level. It also includes additional proposed measures to ensure that the targets can still be met.
The state government shall submit the climate report and the climate protection and projection report, including the statement of the Council of Climate Experts, to the state parliament after the resolution has been adopted. If it appears that the target will not be met, the state government shall decide on the necessary measures within four months after the adoption and inform the state parliament accordingly.
The Climate Action Registry is the new instrument for establishing, implementing, and evaluating measures taken by the state government to protect the climate, thus to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It is closely linked to the setting of sectoral targets for the year 2030.
Funding programmes set up by the state must be reviewed for their compatibility with the goals of the Baden-Württemberg Climate Act and the climate targets when they are first enacted, updated, or amended. The aim is to phase out and terminate subsidies that have adverse effects on the climate.
Shadow carbon pricing is a tool to factor in the environmental costs of carbon dioxide emissions in decisions. From now on, for the planning of construction measures by the state and for procurement by the state in Baden-Württemberg, an assigned price per tonne of CO2 produced over the lifespan of the respective measure will be calculated, which is currently at 201 euros. The climate-damaging use of financial resources by the state will in this way be made more expensive and subsequently reduced or dispensed with altogether.
The Climate Expert Council is an independent scientific advisory board. The Climate Expert Council consists of six members. It advises the state government and the state parliament on climate protection and climate change adaptation across all sectors. The Climate Expert Council is also authorised to issue statements and reports to the state government and the state parliament on the basis of its own decisions. The members of the Climate Expert Council are appointed for five years at a time.
The Climate Act stipulates land area targets for the expansion of wind energy and ground-mounted photovoltaic systems in Baden-Württemberg. These represent a minimum requirement and can also be exceeded in the interest of climate protection.
The Climate Act aims to mitigate the unavoidable impacts of climate change with the aid of a nationwide adaptation strategy. The state government first adopted the Baden-Württemberg Adaptation Strategy in 2015. A new version of the adaptation strategy will be published in 2023.
The public sector has a role model function in climate protection. Baden-Württemberg has set itself the goal of organising the state administration "climate-neutral" by 2030. To this end, the Ministry of the Environment has presented a concept for a climate-neutral state administration.
All municipalities, cities, and districts must record their annual energy consumption in an electronic database provided by the state. The goal is to reduce municipal energy consumption and, in particular, to operate the properties in a more energy-efficient manner.
A municipal heating plan will form the basis for achieving a climate-neutral building sector. The Climate Act stipulates the elements of such a municipal heat plan for all municipalities in Baden-Württemberg.
Municipal heat planning includes an inventory analysis of heat demand and supply structure as well as an analysis of existing potentials for heat supply by means of renewable energies. Based on this, the municipalities create a scenario for a climate-neutral heat supply in 2040. In addition, a strategy is also being developed for the successful achievement of this transformation and the setting of priorities.
This roadmap will enable municipalities to make the right decisions to bring about climate-neutral heat supply for all buildings. It will also support the individual investment decisions of all other local actors.
The Climate Act includes various obligations for the installation of photovoltaic systems to generate electricity:
- for the construction of new non-residential buildings
- for the construction of new residential buildings
- for fundamental building roof renovations
- for the new construction of car parks with more than 35 parking spaces.
In October 2021, the Ministry of the Environment issued a legal ordinance that specifies the provisions of the photovoltaic obligations for the new construction of buildings, basic roof renovations, and car parks.
Municipalities, cities, and districts can draw up climate mobility plans. With the help of these plans, the municipalities should permanently reduce their greenhouse gas emissions in the mobility sector.
Businesses can conclude climate protection agreements with the state on a voluntary basis. The aim is to motivate them to engage in additional climate protection activities. Whenever Baden-Württemberg holds a majority share in companies that have high potential for reducing GHG emissions, the state should, as far as legally possible, advocate that companies conclude a climate protection agreement.