Headline: Youth movements, intergenerational justice, and climate litigation in the deep time context of the Anthropocene

After decades of ineffective state-led global climate governance that has been dominated by mostly short-term Northern political and corporate interests, we are now witnessing an increased recognition of the planetary scale of the climate crisis and its impacts on present and future life on Earth. The Anthropocene is argued to be the new geological epoch and is associated with fast-approaching planetary boundaries and a new understanding of promethean humans as a powerful geological force. The Anthropocene introduces a new context for thinking about the climate crisis and its associated multiple patterns of differentially distributed injustices, including the temporal aspects of justice. At the same time, the climate crisis prompts the need to embark on new strategies to ensure a safe and just operating space for all present and future generations within planetary limits. While traditionally marginalized in national, regional and United Nations political fora, and largely ignored by the high rhetoric of multilateral environmental agreements that have been unable to operationalize intergenerational justice in day-to-day governance, young people are now actively claiming their position as representatives of present and future generations. They do so through protests, but also through more formal avenues to deliberately assert claims for intergenerational justice. One increasingly popular and often successful strategy is climate litigation. In this paper, we explore the shift in understanding and the practicing of intergenerational justice in the deep time context of the Anthropocene, and how young people are becoming more powerful political actors that use climate litigation to ensure intergenerational justice. We briefly reflect on the 2021 decision of the German Constitutional Court in Neubauer et al versus Germany as an example of successful youth-led climate litigation.

Wissenschaftliche Aufsätze

Kotzé, L., & Knappe, H. (2023). Youth movements, intergenerational justice, and climate litigation in the deep time context of the Anthropocene. Environmental research communications, 5(2): 025001. doi:10.1088/2515-7620/acaa21.

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