BERLIN (GERMANY) February 3, 2006 — Following a key legal challenge to the secrecy of the German Economics Ministry, the climate change impacts of German export credits will soon have to be disclosed.
February 3, 2006
The legal challenge was brought by campaign groups Germanwatch and BUND/Friends of the Earth, Germany.
In an important judgment which forms part of the settlement of the case on 31^st January 2006, Judge Gaudernack at the Berlin Administrative Court rejected both the German government’s two arguments – that its export credit activities were not subject to European environmental information laws, and that these credits did not affect climate change and the environment. Through its agency Euler Hermes AG, German export credits provide financial support for projects overseas that contribute to climate change, such as coal power plants and mining.
The environmental groups’ request for a list and details of energy production projects supported by the German taxpayer was rejected by the Economics Ministry in August 2003. Legal proceedings began in June 2004 with the support of the international and collaborative Climate Justice Programme.
Christoph Bals, Head of Policy at Germanwatch said:
“Germany is the exports world champion, and now we can see how much tax payers money contributes to exports, which damage the global climate. We see this only as a first step towards transparency regarding the climate impacts of German exports. To prevent dangerous climate change doesn’t only need policies and measures in developed countries, but can only be prevented if climate risk becomes a strong criterium for exported technologies “.
Gerhard Timm, Director of BUND said:
“This case is an important step in the direction of much-needed transparency and climate protection. Taxpayers’ money must be spent to safeguard the environment, and now we can monitor this situation with respect to export credits and climate change.”
Roda Verheyen, co-Director of the Climate Justice Programme commented:
“It is finally clear that the German taxpayer has the right to know whether its money spent on export credits protects or destroys the climate. We expect now the government and Hermes to implement the settlement rapidly and to respond to future requests openly and lawfully. Nationally and internationally we need an export credits policies which show that reflects the need for urgent cuts in greenhouse gas emissions. This case will also give a boost to other campaigners around the world trying to hold export credit bodies to account over climate change.”
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:
Christoph Bals, Executive Director Policy, Germanwatch Tel. + 49 30 – 228-6049217 www.germanwatch.org
Ralf Willinger, Germanwatch Press Office, Tel: + 49 30 – 288 8356-5; firstname.lastname@example.org <mailto:email@example.com>
Almut Gaude, BUND Press Office Tel. + 49 163 607 9090 (mobile) E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org www.bund.net
Roda Verheyen, Co-Director, Climate Justice Programme (Hamburg) + 49 179 465 2979 (mobile)
Peter Roderick, Co-Director, Climate Justice Programme (London) + 44 20 7388 3141 www.climatelaw.org