The recent decision by the German Constitutional Court in Neubauer et al. versus Germany has been attracting considerable attention around the globe. The Court ordered the German legislature to correct and to significantly tighten up existing climate law provisions, to increase the ambition of these provisions, and to strengthen future mitigation pathways. Several commentators have hailed it as an example of what is possible when the judiciary steps in to fill gaps in global climate governance as a result of governments failing to act or acting inadequately. In this article, I explore the extent to which the Court in Karlsruhe has innovatively managed to embrace a holistic planetary view of climate science, climate change impacts, planetary justice, planetary stewardship, earth system vulnerability, and global climate law, within the context of a human-dominated geological epoch, to guide its reasoning and findings. My proposal is that courts will have to increasingly follow a planetary perspective that is grounded in the Anthropocene context when adjudicating matters related to global disruptors such as climate change. This decision offers a first, and important, example of a promising new paradigm that I term planetary climate litigation.
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Kotzé, L. (2021). Neubauer et al. versus Germany: Planetary Climate Litigation for the Anthropocene? German law journal: GLJ, 22(8), 1423-1444. doi:10.1017/glj.2021.87.
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