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8 February 20232 minute read

Climate Change in Court

Around the world, disputes over global climate change are increasingly taking place before national courts. Since 2015, the number of climate change-related lawsuits has doubled1. While the „Climate Change Laws of the World“2 database counted three climate lawsuits in Germany for the year 2020, there were already seventeen in 20213. Especially after the successful constitutional complaint4 against the Federal Climate Protection Act, various plaintiffs are trying to enforce climate protection targets through several legal channels. Since climate change is a cross-border issue, a special feature of climate lawsuits is, that there is an international interest in proceedings in other jurisdictions. Attention is paid not only to the outcome of the proceedings, but also to the arguments brought and their transferability to proceedings in other countries.

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1Setzer/Higham, Global trends in climate change litigation, 2021 Snapshot, Policy Report, p. 10: (Last accessed 21.04.22)
2Overview of climate change laws and jurisprudence worldwide by the Grantham Research Institute, LSE and the Sabin Center, Columbia Law School, available at:
3Climate Change Laws of the World, Grantham Research Institute, LSE and Sabin Center, Columbia Law School: (Last accessed 07.04.22).
4BVerfG, Beschl. v. 24.3.2021, 1 BvR 2656/18, 1 BvR 78/20, 1 BvR 96/20, 1 BvR 288/20, NJW 2021, 1723.