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Lecture on Planetary Law

Die Aufzeichnung des Vortrags sowie der nachfolgenden, durch Prof. Dr. Thilo Marauhn eröffneten Diskussion ist in voller Länge auf YouTube verfügbar.

10. Mai 2022 - Planetary Law for the Anthropocene


18 Uhr c.t.

Senatssaal, Universitätshauptgebäude

Ludwigstraße 23, 35390 Gießen

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Prof. Dr.  Dr. Louis Kotzé 

North-West University

South Africa

Planetary Law for the Anthropocene

This lecture addresses the question: how can the existing Holocene international environmental law regime be re-imagined in order to provoke a long overdue paradigm shift that is able to confront the Anthropocene’s deepening socio-ecological crisis within a planetary context?  The argument unfolds in three parts. Part one offers context by interrogating the successes and failures of the current body of international environmental law that has been created within the context of the Holocene epoch to address the “environmental protection” concerns of this relatively harmonious, stable, and predictable epoch. Part two explores how the Anthropocene, to the extent that it acts as a trope that evidences the recent rupture in Earth’s history because of overwhelming human impacts, represents a new context for thinking about international environmental law and governance at a planetary scale. Part three looks ahead and suggests possible transformative pathways in pursuit of a form of planetary law for the Anthropocene.

© Kotzé



Prof. Dr. Thilo Marauhn (Öffentliches Recht & Völkerrecht, Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen)

Prof. Dr. Dr. Louis J. Kotzé

Louis Kotzé is Research Professor of Law at the Faculty of Law, North-West University, SA; and Senior Professorial Fellow in Earth System Law at the University of Lincoln, UK. His research focuses on socio-ecological justice and environmental constitutionalism; law and the Anthropocene; and Earth system law. He has over 180 publications on these themes, with the most recent titled: Research Handbook on Law, Governance and Planetary Boundaries (with Duncan French, 2021). He is assistant editor of the journal Earth System Governance; Senior Fellow of the Earth System Governance Network and member of its Scientific Steering Committee; and co-convenor of the Network’s Taskforce on Earth System Law. In 2016 he obtained a second PhD at Tilburg University. He is the recipient of several research awards including from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. He was awarded a European Commission Horizon 2020 Marie Curie Fellowship to lead a research project during 2018-2019 at the University of Lincoln titled: Global Ecological Custodianship-Innovative International Environmental Law for the Anthropocene. He currently serves as the Klaus Töpfer Sustainability Fellow at the Potsdam Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies where he is working on the theme Earth System Law for the Anthropocene.