Germany

Emma Johanna Kiehm, et al. v. State of Brandenburg

Jurisdiction: Federal Constitutional Court


Principle law(s): Federal Climate Protection Act and to change further regulations ("Bundesklimaschutzgesetz” or “KSG")


Side A: Emma Johanna Kiehm, Lina Freyert, Ameline Pelikan, Prof. Paul Brodowsky, Ruth Feinel-Brodowsky, and Wolfgang Georgsdorf (Individual)


Side B: State of Brandenburg (Government)


Core objectives:

The lack of a climate protection law in the State of Brandenburg.


Summary
On September 13, 2021, the youth plaintiffs Emma Johanna Kiehm, Lina Freyert, Ameline Pelikan, Prof. Paul Brodowsky, Ruth Feinel-Brodowsky, and Wolfgang Georgsdorf brought a claim against the state of Brandenburg, 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. The state of Brandenburg does not have a climate law. 

Consistent with the German TKTK court’s decision in (Neubauer v. Germany), the German national government has adjusted its climate goals. Plaintiffs argue that codification is also required at the state level, as states bear the co-responsibility for protecting lives and civil liberties, including safeguarding the natural foundations of life for future generations, within their own sphere of competence. The lack of legislation at the state level is unconstitutional given that the state has failed to protect citizens against climate change. The plaintiffs argue they have a fundamental right to defend themselves against the considerable future restrictions of freedom which – in view of rapidly progressing climate change – are to be seen as inevitable and already inherent in the omitted action of the legislature of the State of Brandenburg.

Case documents

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