ICCC Weekly Newsletter
25 May 2021
Young Adults Demand Climate Action, Now!
German court declares the country’s 2019 climate legislation puts more burden on future generations and not enough on the present. Effective climate protection has to be implemented now and not in 10 years when it’ll be too late.
Ever since Greta Thunberg, the young Swedish climate activist, stood outside the Swedish Parliament in 2018, with a placard that said, ‘School strike for climate change, the world has begun to realize that the impact of climate change will be disproportionately more on future generations. There is a grudging acknowledgment that the present generation has to sacrifice more to ensure that the future generation is not unduly burdened with the problem.
On April 29, the Constitutional Court in Germany sided with nine young Germans against the German federal government in a case about climate change.
The court agreed the country’s landmark climate legislation, passed in 2019, put too much of a burden on future generations and didn’t take enough responsibility in the present.
“The provisions irreversibly offload major emission reduction burdens onto periods after 2030,” the court ruled, ordering the government to change the legislation.
Many courts have turned out to be receptive to that argument. The first breakthrough came in the Netherlands in 2019, when the Supreme Court ordered the government to cut the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent from 1990 levels by the end of 2020.
The attorney representing the young Germans exulted that the verdict recognizes for the first time that freedom must be guaranteed not only here and now, but also intertemporally and globally — that is, across generations and state borders. Germany’s Minister of Economy and Energy Peter Altmaier agreed, calling it “epochal for climate protection and the rights of young people.”
According to a CBC report, the German court’s verdict is a big morale booster to 22 young Canadians who are pursuing a similar case against the Canadian government. The lawsuit is sponsored by the…