German climate legislation on the pathway to the 1.5°C temperature goal?
Keywords:German Federal Constitutional Court, German Climate Change Act, Paris Agreement, ECtHR, Urgenda, European Energy security crisis
Climate lawsuits are rising worldwide. Correspondingly, there is a growing number of landmark rulings by courts of last instance. On 29 April 2021, the BVerfG, the German Federal Constitutional Court, issued its significant Order on the deficiencies of German Climate Change legislation. This paper analysesin detail the court’s key deliberations and outlines its unacceptable features. In this context, the similarities, and differences between the CourtOrder and the historic Urgenda ruling of the Hoge Raad, the Supreme Court of the Netherlands, are illustrated. In close connection with these observations, this paper explores the reasons whythe amended German Climate Change Act of 2021 alsolacks compatibility with the Basic Law of Germany, i.e.,its Constitution. Moreover, it outlinesthe challenges for the new German Federal Government Amendment when realigning the Climate Chance Act in 2022. In addition, to what extent the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR)ruling, and the international children’s rights jurisdiction could have an impact on the BVerfG’s jurisdiction, as well as national climate regimes in general,are discussed. Beyond that, the line to the latest landmark decisions in further international climate cases is drawn. Here, inter alia, the October 2021 decision of the French Administrative Court will be analysed,ordering the French Government to compensate for the consequences of its failure to combat climate change in the case ofNotre Affaire à Tous and Others v. France.In the last section,the serious consequences of the current European security crisis caused by Russia’s war against Ukraine are highlighted. Here, the strong interweaving of fossil energy dependence and climate emergency is shown.