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WhatsApp chat rooms and Telegram channels across Germany lit up in the early hours of April 29. Young people frantically exchanged messages in a tone that went from disbelief to surprise to euphoria.

The country’s highest court had just ruled that the government’s 2019 climate law was incompatible with fundamental rights, a victory for the nine young German activists who filed the lawsuit and for the global youth climate movement. Over the next few days, it also changed the course of Germany’s politics, economy and climate strategy for the next three decades.

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