Why do we need a strong climate law?
Current laws only cover about half of the sectors where emissions need to be reduced. This is simply not enough. Slovakia's climate law should set out a clear path to carbon neutrality by 2050 at the latest, in all areas.
The new law is an opportunity to take advantage of the necessary transformation of society, and to do so fairly for all. If the climate law is really going to bring about the necessary change, it must include three areas without which it will not work: targets, control and enforcement.
Our laws currently cover only about half of the sectors that we need to decarbonise. We also lack a plan to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 at the latest. The climate law should set a clear trajectory for Slovakia to change the climate challenge. The success of this endeavour also depends on the quality of the law and the courage of politicians to approach climate protection responsibly.
What a climate law should definitely contain
Carbon neutrality is the goal line and the climate law should show a clear path to it. To ensure that it is not just a nicely written document, it is essential that the law contains clearly defined commitments by Slovakia and refers to an updated plan that is based on a decarbonisation trajectory.
From these also derive targets and obligations for each ministry or other person, and regular monitoring and legal enforceability of their implementation.
Will it include a climate action?
The possibility that a climate law would contain a lawsuit is also being raised. This would arise when ministries and responsible entities fail to fulfil their obligations. For example, they would not be meeting decarbonisation targets adequately, they would not have updated strategies or they would be diverging from EU legislation. Lack of reflection on the urgency of climate change would give citizens the opportunity to sue the state.
For such a step to be taken, for quality climate protection, a consensus of both political and economic actors will be needed.
Inspiration from abroad - climate action
It should be noted that each Member State has a different starting position and its national climate law will reflect local need. Let's look at how it works abroad.
Austria's climate law rewards regions that try to reduce emissions. Incentives create a competition between municipalities and regions to see who can achieve the highest savings, who can be self-sufficient the fastest, and so on.
Recently, Greenpeace took the Norwegian Government to the European Court of Human Rights for issuing permits for the continuation of oil production. They point out that there is a huge interference with their human rights because of the documented worsening of climate change.
Thanks to the Dutch climate law, which includes a lawsuit, it has been possible to order the government to shut down coal-fired power plants more quickly and to allocate billions of euros for home renovation, renewable energy and other measures.
To support the climate law, klick here →
For more articles on the climate law, see:
Interview with Juraj Melihar of Friends of the Earth - CEPA → https://zurnal.pravda.sk/rozhovory/clanok/616246-mame-28-rokov-na-to-aby-sme-podali-vykon-storocia/
Interview with Dana Marekova from Climate Coalition and Ivana Figuli from Via Iuris →
Published September 20th, 2022