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Historic German Court Ruling obliges the state to impose stronger measures to reduce carbon emissions

Thursday, May 6, 2021

The ruling in a court case brought by a group of  young environmental activists has succeeded in forcing the German government to step up its efforts to combat climate change. Judges in the country's highest court ordered the government to strengthen legislation before the end of the year, to protect future generations -- and the government has agreed. This comes two years after another major victory in the Netherlands. In the UK, success in the courts has been more limited. A case won initially by Plan B in February 2020 to prevent the construction of a third runway at Heathrow, was overturned in January this year by the Supreme Court, for what seem like legal technicalities -- see the report by Plan B and the detailed legal analysis by the international law firm White and Case.

In this article from the online magazine Social Europe, two of the lawyers who fought the German court case, describe the legal consequences of the ruling. The term "historic" may be well-deserved. Lawyers, sharpen your pencils!

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