Germany

Marlene Lemme, et al. v. State of Bayern (subsidiary claim)

Jurisdiction: Bayern Constitutional Court


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


Side A: Marlene Lemme, David Schiepek, Lukas Schulz, Stefan Emmerichs, Julius Papst, Kaspar Seßner, Friedl Seßner, Andreas Mäckler, Clara Göppel -Ramsurn, and Lucie Göppel-Ramsurn (Individual)


Side B: State of Bayern (Government)


Core objectives:

The inadequacy of a climate protection law in the State of Bayern.


Summary
On June 30, 2021, the youth plaintiffs Marlene Lemme, David Schiepek, Lukas Schulz, Stefan Emmerichs, Julius Papst, Kaspar Seßner, Friedl Seßner, Andreas Mäckler, Clara Göppel -Ramsurn, and Lucie Göppel-Ramsurn brought a claim against the state of Bayern for the inadequacy of the adopted climate law. This action is subsidiary to the (constitutional case) and will be declared settled provided that the complaint is upheld. 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. 

Bayern’s 2020 Climate Protection Act (BayKlimaG) has the goal to (i) reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 55% compared to 1990 to 5 tons per inhabitant per year by 2030 and (ii) achieve climate neutrality by 2050. The state should also offset any remaining emissions from 2030 onwards. To achieve these goals, the state sets up a climate protection program. The plaintiffs claim that this program does not specify a deadline or an adaptation strategy. The program does not include differentiated targets or instruments with deadlines for the implementation and compliance with the formulated targets. The plaintiffs claim that the measures fall short of the Federal Climate Protection Act. 

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 inadequacy 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 Bayern.

Case documents

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