The term Energiewende was coined as far back as 1980 to describe the transition from the dominant fossil fuel/nuclear centralized energy system to a renewable decentralized energy system. The anti-nuclear movement, grassroots initiatives and environmental activism have led to a cultural shift that mainstreamed the Energiewende in Germany and made it virtually irreversible along with the general concern for sustainability. This raises the issue what role environmental lawyers can play in this transitional process. Are they just ‘experts’ and commentators as conventional legal scholarship would have it or should they be actors for social and legal change? Recent literature on the methodology of environmental law has shown that scholars have, in the past, too often been reactive (merely responding to social change) and reductionist (e.g., ‘energy law’ as stand-alone subject) and not sufficiently engaged in ethical and political discourses. The chapter calls for a methodological approach to researching energy law based on sustainability ethics and advocacy.
Over the last decade or so, numerous initiatives for a global constitution have emerged and many international lawyers have embraced the concept of global constitutionalism. These developments have been described as a new way of thinking or ‘mindset’ in response to our globalized world. Back in 1987, the United Nations World Commission on Environment and Development stated: ‘The Earth is one, but the world is not.’ This may still be true today, but people are becoming more united as they face similar experiences and challenges regardless of where they happen to live. Kant’s dream of a cosmopolitan constitution seems a real prospect. Humanity certainly needs a code of common values, rights and responsibilities. This chapter explores some of the Earth Charter’s covenantal qualities in search of a (true) world constitutional order that we as humanity can identify with.