Recent Publications and Speeches


Stopping Biodiversity Loss, Human Rights, and International Environmental Law

The CBD as well as (national and transnational) human rights contain an obligation to halt biodiversity loss since 1993 at the latest, which has been continuously violated ever since. Governments can also be sued on this basis. We show this in a new international paper: here.

Negative Emissions: Forests, Peatlands - and Geoengineering?

Even with zero fossil fuels and greatly reduced animal husbandry, residual emissions remain that must be compensated - even if sufficiency can make this amount of emissions smaller than the IPCC assumes. This requires above all the regulation of forests and peatlands (which are also central to biodiversity protection). Here, economic instruments and regulatory law relate to each other differently than they often do. Three international articles explore this - on forests, on peatlands and on the very problematic large-scale BECCSand other kinds of geoengineering.

Paris Target, Human Rights, and our Groundbreaking Constitutional Court Verdict on Unambitious Climate Protection and Precautionary Principle

German and EU climate policy is contrary to international law and constitutional human rights. Even the unambitious targets themselves are illegal. More on this in our new legal analysis, including critical perspectives on IPCC AR6 here. In April 2021, we won a groundbreaking lawsuit at the German Constitutional Court. See on this in Nature Climate Change, in The Environment and Sustainability.

Economic Instruments for Phosphorus Governance - Climate and Biodiv Targets

The existing legal framework on P is strongly characterized by detailed command-and-control provisions and thus suffers from governance problems such as enforcement deficits, rebound and shifting effects. Our new paper focuses on how these challenges could be addressed by economic instruments. The article highlights not only the impact of the instruments on P management, but also on adjacent environmental areas. We pay particular attention to the governance effects on reaching international binding climate and biodiv goals: here.

Land Use, Livestock, Quantity Governance, and Economic Instruments

The production of animal food products is (besides fossil fuels) one of the most important noxae with regard to many of the environmental problems, such as climate change, biodiversity loss or globally disrupted nutrient cycles. This paper provides a qualitative governance analysis of which regulatory options there are to align livestock farming with the legally binding environmental objectives, in particular the Paris Agreement and the Convention on Biological Diversity: here.

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The Term ‘Rechtsreferendar’

The term ‘Rechtsreferendar’ is difficult to translate and warrants some explanation. According to the Deutsches Richter Gesetz (German Judge Act), two state examinations are required to obtain the qualification for a judge post. The same qualification is required to become lawyer or prosecuting attorney. Moreover, this qualification is often required by ministries and other government agencies.

The first examination concludes the studies at university.

The second one finishes the Referendariat. This is a two-year period during which the Referendar – i. e. the upcoming judge, lawyer, etc. – works as an assistant at a civil court (approx. 5 months); a criminal court or at a prosecuting attorney (approx. 4 months); at an administrative court or some official authority, e. g. a ministry (approx. 3 months); at a lawyers office (approx. 9 months); and finally at an institution of one's choice (approx. 3 months). The second state examination consists of approx. 8 written examinations and an oral examination.

The idea behind splitting the legal education is that young lawyers should first learn substantial law only (as far as that is possible). The details of procedural law are then learned in a second step.