Preparation of Climate Claims in Austria
Due to European and international requirements, Austria is obliged to take measures for climate change mitigation. The Paris Agreement and the EU “Effort-Sharing-Decision” have been implemented by the Austrian Climate Protection Act (Klimaschutzgesetz – KSG). The state obligation to protect our climate can also be deduced from a human rights perspective. Greenpeace CEE as well as several private persons decided to enforce increased climate protection with support of ÖKOBÜRO and attorney Krömer. Instead of legal action against the Federal Government, individuals in Austria can file an application to the Constitutional Court alleging an infringement of her or his rights by unconstitutionality. This way, they may cause the Court to evaluate whether there has been an infringement of constitutionally guaranteed rights. So far, there is no jurisdiction whether such applications may also address legal provisions contravening climate protection or fostering climate-damaging behaviour.
ECJ Decides on Lifetime Extension of Belgian Nuclear Power Plant Doel
On 29 July 2019, the ECJ released a preliminary ruling in Case C-411/17 on the lifetime extension of the Belgian nuclear power plant Doel 1 and 2, located close to nature protection areas. A Law of 28 June 2015 laid down that nuclear reactors Doel 1 and 2 should be deactivated in 2025 – ten years later than originally determined by a 2003 law. Two Belgian environmental protection associations challenged the Law before the Belgian Constitutional Court. The preliminary reference thus addressed the applicability of the Aarhus and Espoo Conventions as well as the European EIA and the Habitats Directives. The Court affirmed the applicability of both Directives arguing, inter alia, that the operating time was extended by a “significant period of 10 years” and involved major renovation works. Other than Advocate General Kokott who had affirmed the applicability of the Aarhus and Espoo Convention in her opinion, the Court decided not to answer the relevant questions as the EIA Directive takes account of the requirements of both Conventions.
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