Recent Publications and Speeches


Our Groundbreaking Constitutional Court Verdict: Paris Agreement, Unambitious Climate Protection, Precautionary Principle, and Human Rights

Missing German and EU climate targets is not embarrassing - it is contrary to international and human rights. Even the unambitious targets themselves are illegal; all the more so their misconduct. More on this in our new legal opinion on the Paris Agreement here. In April 2021, we won a groundbreaking lawsuit at the German Constitutional Court. See on this here and here.

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.

Peatland Governance: New Perspectives on Regulatory Law and Economic Instruments

Paris targets imply that not only emissions from degraded peatlands have to be avoided, but conservation and rewetting of peatlands are also necessary to figure as sinks to compensate for unavoidable residual emissions. In the absence of an easily comprehensible control variable (such as fossil fuels), economic instruments reach their limits. This is remarkable in so far as economic instruments can otherwise handle governance problems and react to various behavioral motivational factors very well. Still, peatlands can be subject to certain regulations and prohibitions under command-and-control law even without precise knowledge of the emissions from peatland use: here.

Sustainability: Transformation, Governance, Ethics, Law - First Volume in our new Springer Nature Book Series on Environmental Humanities

From spring 2019 Felix Ekardt is the editor of Springer Nature's new book series "Environmental Humanities: Transformation, Governance, Ethics, Law". It is open to the entire social sciences, i.e. economics, philosophy, sociology, political science, ethnology, etc. Volume 1 "Sustainability: Transformation, Governance, Ethics, Law" by Felix Ekardt has been published now and provides an overview of the work of the FNK with completely new perspectives in sustainability research - and can be read with Springer Link: 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.