Legal Action for Climate Protection — impulses on the international level from the German Federal Constitutional Court: the Court Order from March 2021 on the Unconstitutionality of the Federal German Climate Protection Act

Authors

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.5327/Z2176-94781329

Keywords:

Paris agreement of 2015; climate litigation; greenhouse gases; global warming; CO2-emissions; German federal climate protection act; constitutional law; legislation; sustainability; natural resources; future generations.

Abstract

Against the background of the international climate protection aim deriving from the “Paris Agreement” of December 2015, demanding a limitation of global warming to 1,5  Celsius at best, the public discussion and anger on the mid- and longterm consequences of a constantly growing greenhouse effect have clearly risen. Along with that, “climate litigation” has turned into serious means to sue governments for inadequate measures to reach international and domestic climate protection goals. In a line of several legal actions and high court decisions in different countries during the last years is the court order of the Federal German Constitutional Court from March 2021. The judges considered the German Federal Climate Protection Act unconstitutional due to a lack of clearing a reliable legal path to reach the CO2-reduction goals and this decision was seen as a milestone in climate litigation. Combined with the obligation of the state to protect the natural resources by legislation, the court invented the “advance interference-like effect”on future generations and the “intertemporal guarantees of freedom”, two legal figures which could be possibly applied to constitutional law abroad and thus fertilize argumentation in climate litigation outside of Germany, too.

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Published

2022-03-26

How to Cite

Tomerius, S. (2022). Legal Action for Climate Protection — impulses on the international level from the German Federal Constitutional Court: the Court Order from March 2021 on the Unconstitutionality of the Federal German Climate Protection Act. Revista Brasileira De Ciências Ambientais (RBCIAMB), 57(1), 158–165. https://doi.org/10.5327/Z2176-94781329

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Section

Viewpoint and technical notes