Young activists force German climate law to harden

Germany's highest court has ruled that a major climate change law there - considered a signature achievement of Chancellor Angela Merkel - doesn't go far enough, because it leaves too much of the burden on younger generations.

And, the challenge to the law was backed by young activists themselves, including the Fridays for Future movement started by Greta Thunberg...

... and Sophie Backsen, who petitioned the court saying that rising sea levels may swallow her family farm, on a low-lying island.

"We are super happy and relieved after the court's decision. The decision is a huge success for us young people. It has become clear that parts of the climate protection law do not correspond with our constitutional rights. Effectiveclimate protection has to be implemented now and not in 10 years' time, when it'll be too late."

Backsen lives on the island of Pellworm, in the North Sea. The original law was passed in 2019 and requires Germany to lower its carbon dioxide emissions to 55% below what it was in 1990, by the end of this decade.

The law also requires Germany to have almost no carbon dioxide emissions at all by 2050.

But the constitutional court says the law, as it stands, isn't specific enough about how the country will reduce its emissions further beyond that 2030 goal post.

Shifting the burden, the court says, violates "the freedoms of the complainants, some of whom are still very young." It's given the government until the end of the year to amend the law accordingly.