Alena Hochstadt, et al. v. State of Hesse
Jurisdiction: Federal Constitutional Court
Principle law(s): Federal Climate Protection Act and to change further regulations ("Bundesklimaschutzgesetz” or “KSG")
Side A: Alena Hochstadt, Dennis Georg, and Lilly Claudi (Individual)
Side B: Hesse (Government)
Core objectives: The lack of a climate protection law in the State of Hesse.
SummaryOn September 09, 2021, the youth plaintiffs Alena Hochstadt, Dennis Georg, and Lilly Claudi brought a claim against the state of Hesse, arguing that the state’s failure to adopt a climate law violated plaintiffs’ constitutional rights. The plaintiffs rely on the Paris Agreement and the German Constitution to demand that the state legislature sets a pathway to reducing greenhouse gas emissions to comply with the remaining CO2 budget to achieve carbon neutrality (calculated and distributed over the remaining period until the 1.5oC target is achieved), especially considering the Federal Climate Protection Act, and the goal of achieving climate neutrality by 2045. The temperature targets are informed by the Paris Agreement.
On January 18, 2022, the First Senate of the Federal Constitutional Court did not admit the eleven complaints for adjudication, on the basis of a lack of adequate prospects. Widely in alignment with its decision in Neubauer v. Germany, the Court acknowledged that greenhouse gas reduction burdens cannot be unilaterally offloaded onto the future. However, in the cases at hand, complainants’ fundamental rights were not violated pre-emptively, because the state legislatures are not subject to a CO2 emissions budget, which, according to the Court in Neubauer v. Germany, is a prerequisite for such an effect. Rather, it is the federal German legislature that is bound by the CO2 budget, but has a prerogative with respect to its implementation. As regards the federal states, the Court clarified that they too are responsible for climate protection, in particular by virtue of Article 20a of the Basic Law.
Related laws and policies
Federal Climate Protection Act and to change further regulations ("Bundesklimaschutzgesetz” or “KSG")
The purpose of this law is to ensure that national climate protection targets are met and European targets are met. It is also intended to support Germany's commitment at the UN climate summit in New York on September 23, 2019 to pursue greenhouse gas neutrality as a long-term goal by 2050. It wa...