Legal Scholar Shows That Legal Obligations to Protect Future Generations Already Exist

The obligations of politicians towards future generations can be derived from the existing legal system. This is shown by Mannheim jurist Svenja Behrendt in her latest publication.

The changes brought about by climate change will not only affect interests protected by fundamental rights in 100 years. Consequences like rising food prices and natural disasters are already taking their toll today. Nevertheless, future generations in particular will have to deal with the burdens caused by climate change. In a new publication, Mannheim-based lawyer Prof. Dr. Svenja Behrendt examines the question of whether political decision-makers are already legally obliged to protect the interests of future generations. The result: Our obligations towards the future interests of people living now or in the future are already enshrined in fundamental law. Additionally, Behrendt addresses a ruling by the European Court of Human Rights in April and explains that an additional legal norm is not needed and that the actual anchoring of our responsibility is currently still being undermined.

Her essay Facing the Future: Conceiving Legal Obligations towards Future Generations was published in the journal “Politics and Governance” at the end of April.

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