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Jun.-Prof. Dr. Cathrin Zengerling, LL.M. (Univ. of Michigan)


Head of junior professorship Transformation to Sustainable Energy Systems (tenure track)


Cathrin portrait

Faculty for Environment and Natural Resources

Institute for Environmental Sciences and Geography

Tennenbacher Str. 4

D-79106 Freiburg

tel.: +49 761 203 67812


contact hours: tba.




Cathrin Zengerling is a legal scholar and works primarily in the areas of (international) environmental, energy and planning law as well as sustainable urban development. She heads the junior professorship "Transformation to Sustainable Energy Systems" since August 2019 and the research group "Urban Footprints" - funded by a Freigeist-Fellowship of the Volkswagen Foundation - since January 2018. Previously, she had been researching and teaching as a postdoc at HafenCity University Hamburg since November 2015, particularly in the context of the master's program Resource Efficiency in Architecture and Planning (REAP). From May 2011 to October 2015, she worked as a lawyer in the Hamburg law firm Günther Rechtsanwälte, mainly in the areas of energy, construction and environmental law.

Curriculum Vitae   |   Teaching   |   Research   |   Publications   |   Supervision   |   Presentations   I   Memberships


Curriculum Vitae


  • Head of junior professorship "Transformation to Sustainable Energy Systems" at the Faculty of Environment and Natural Resources, Albert-Ludwigs-University Freiburg (since 08/19)
  • Head of research group "Urban Footprints" as a Freigeist-Fellow of the VolkswagenStiftung, HafenCity University Hamburg/Freiburg University (since 01/18)
  • Postdoc at the HafenCity University Hamburg, researching and teaching in the context of the Master's program Resource Efficiency in Architecture and Planning (REAP) (11/15 - 07/19)
  • Lawyer at Hamburg law firm Günther Rechtsanwälte with a focus on energy, building and environmental law (05/11 - 11/15)
  • Lecturer at the HafenCity University Hamburg (10/11 - 04/15)
  • Dissertation at the University of Hamburg at the Chair for public law, environmental law and legal philosophy, Prof. Dr. Hans-Joachim Koch (06/12), summa cum laude
  • Research assistant at HafenCity University Hamburg at the Chair for Law and Administration, Prof. Dr. Martin Wickel, LL.M. (01/08 - 04/11)
  • Training "International Environmental Law-making and Diplomacy" at the University KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg, South Africa as part of a joint programme of the University of Joensuu Finland and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) (07/08)
  • Zweite juristische Staatsprüfung (second German law degree), Hamburg (01/08)
  • Legal clerkship (Referendariat) at, among others, the Secretariat of the UNECE Aarhus Convention in Geneva, the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety and the Hamburg State Ministry for Urban Development and Environment (12/04 - 01/08)
  • Master of Laws, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, USA (05/06)
  • Erste juristische Staatsprüfung (first German law degree, Hamburg (03/04)
  • Study of law in Münster, Madrid and Hamburg, specializing in environmental and planning law as well as European and public international law (10/97-03/04)


Extended academic CV.


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Winter semester

  • "Scientific Framework - Law" (M.Sc. Renewable Energy Management, Core Module)
  • "Environmental and Energy Transition Law" (M.Sc. Renewable Energy Management, M.Sc. Environmental Governance, Elective) with Prof. Errol Meidinger, University of Buffalo School of Law


Summer semester

  • "Global Sustainability Transformations in Local Contexts" (M.Sc. Renewable Energy Management, M.Sc. Environmental Governance, Elective) with Dr. Benedikt Schmid
  • "Research Skills and Ethics for Sustainable Development" (M.Sc. Renewable Energy Management, Core Module) with Philipp Thapa and Prof. Stefan Pauliuk


Continously supervision of master theses.

Detailed information on teaching.


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  • Regulation of resource use and resource conservation
  • Environmental, planning, and energy law
  • International and European environmental and trade law
  • Sustainable urban development
  • Environmental and climate protection interests in (quasi) judicial review procedures
  • Participation of citizens and NGOs
  • International institutions


More about current research activities.


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Publications (selection)



  • C. Zengerling (2013). Greening International Jurisprudence – Environmental NGOs before International Courts, Tribunals and Compliance Committees. Boston, Leiden: Martinus Nijhoff Publishers.


Contributions to collected editions:

  • C. Zengerling, D. Sotto, O. Fuo (2021). Cities. In: Reins, L.; Verschuuren, J. (Eds.) Research Handbook on Climate Change Mitigation Law, 2nd edition. Edward Elger Publishing (forthcoming).

  • C. Zengerling (2021). Kommunale Klimaschutzplanung. In: Rodi M. (Hrsg.) Klimaschutzrecht. Beck (forthcoming).

  • C. Zengerling (2021). Klimaschutz und Welthandel – Erste Ansätze ökologischer Rechtsstaatlichkeit im EU-Mercosur Freihandelsabkommen? In: Benjamin, H., Westland M. (Eds.) Der ökologische Rechtsstaat. (deutsch/portugiesisch) (forthcoming).
  • N. John, L. Harseim, G. Vignola, C. Zengerling (2021). Of Zeros and Ones: Choices that shape the zero carbon and digital city of tomorrow. HCU Perspectives, No. 6 (forthcoming).
  • M.W. Stapper, C. Zengerling, R. Tribble (2021). Hamburg - How Bürger and Dissent Logics Shape Participatory Processes. In van der Veen, M.; J.W. Duyvendak (Eds.). Participate! Portraits of Cities and Citizens in Action (pp. 83-103). Rotterdam: nai101 publishers.
  • C. Zengerling, S. Aykut, A. Wiener, M. Wickel (2021). Climate Litigation. In Stammer, D.; A. Engels; J. Marotzke; E. Gresse; C. Hedemann; J. Petzold (eds.). Hamburg Climate Futures Outlook 2021. Assessing the plausibility of deep decarbonization by 2050. Cluster of Excellence Climate, Climatic Change, and Society (CLICCS). Hamburg, Germany.
  • C. Zengerling, M. Buck (2018). Umweltschutz und Freihandel. In H.-J. Koch (Ed), Handbuch des Umweltrechts (pp. 1100-1148). München: Vahlen.
  • M. Wickel, C. Zengerling (2017). Multi-level Climate Governance in Germany – Opportunities and Constraints of Formal and Informal Instruments from a Legal Perspective. In J. Antunes Ferreira et al. (Eds), AESOP 2017 Congress eBook of Proceedings (pp. 2450-2460). Lisboa, Universidade de Lisboa.
  • R. Verheyen, C. Zengerling (2016). International Dispute Settlement. In C. Carlarne / K.R. Gray / R. Tarasofsky (Eds), Oxford Handbook of International Climate Change Law (pp. 417-440). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • R. Verheyen, C. Zengerling (2013). International Climate Change Cases. In OC Ruppel / C. Roschmann / K. Ruppel-Schlichting (Eds), Climate Change: Legal Responses and Global Responsibility, Volume I (pp. 759-804). Baden-Baden: Nomos Publishers.
  • C. Zengerling (2008). NGOs versus European Pirates – Fisheries Agreements, IUU Fishing and the ITLOS in West African Seas, in E. Couzen / T. Honkonen (Eds), International Environmental Law-making and Diplomacy Review (pp. 107-132). Joensuu, Finland: UNEP, University of Finland UNEP Course Series.


Contributions to journals:

  • Harseim, L., Sprecher, B., & Zengerling, C. (2021). Phosphorus Governance within Planetary Boundaries: The Potential of Strategic Local Resource Planning in The Hague and Delfland, The Netherlands. Sustainability, 13(19), 10801. MDPI AG. Retrieved from 
  • R. Yawar-Mehmood, L. G. Rios, C. Zengerling, U. Dietrich (2020). The development of a diagnosis indicator-based assessment tool and its application to rural settlements in the region Montes de Maria in Colombia. International Journal of Sustainable Development and Planning, Vol. 15, No. 2, pp. 125-132.
  • C. Zengerling (2020). Städte im polyzentrischen Klimaschutzregime, Zeitschrift für Umweltrecht (ZUR) 1/2020, 3-11.

  • C. Zengerling (2019). Ausbau von Elektromobilitätsangeboten in der Wohnungswirtschaft – Erkenntnisse aus dem Forschungsprojekt e-Quartier Hamburg, Die Wohnungswirtschaft, 5/2019, 28-29.

  • S. Aykut, M. Neukirch, C. Zengerling, A. Engels, M. Suhari, A. Pohlmann (2019). Energiewende ohne gesellschaftlichen Wandel? Der blinde Fleck in der aktuellen Debatte zur "Sektorkopplung", Energiewirtschaftliche Tagesfragen, 3/2019, 20-24.
  • C. Zengerling (2019). Governing the City of Flows – A Plea for Greater Accountability in Strategic Planning and Implementation. Urban Planning, 4/1, 187-199. Open access
  • J. Kortländer, C. Zengerling (2018). Solarstrom im Quartier – Potentiale und Grenzen des neuen Mieterstromgesetzes. RaumPlanung, 198 / 5-2018, 55-59.
  • T. Prill, C. Zengerling (2018). Elektromobilität in urbanen Wohnquartieren – Handlungsspielräume und quartiersbezogene Strategien. PLANERIN, 3, 37-41.
  • C. Zengerling (2018). Action on Climate Change Mitigation in German and Chinese Cities - A Search for Emerging Patterns of Accountability. Habitat International, 75, 147-153.
  • J. Kortländer, C. Zengerling (2018). Das neue Mieterstromgesetz – (k)ein Beitrag zur Energiewende?. Zeitschrift für Neues Energierecht (ZNER), 22/1, 13-20.
  • M. Duncker, C. Zengerling (2017). Elektromobilität in der kommunalen Planung. RaumPlanung 190, 44-49.
  • M. Wickel, C. Zengerling (2016). Die Zulassung des vorzeitigen Baubeginns für Flüchtlingsunterkünfte in der Hamburgischen Bauordnung. Zeitschrift für Öffentliches Recht in Norddeutschland (NordÖR), 4, 133-139.
  • C. Zengerling, R. Verheyen (2014). Seegerichtshof beschließt die Freilassung von Crew und Schiff im Fall „Arctic Sunrise“. Zeitschrift für Umweltrecht (ZUR), 3, 147-150.
  • M. Wickel, C. Zengerling (2011). Partizipation in der kommunalen Planung – Öffentlichkeits-beteiligung und Bürgerentscheide. RaumPlanung 156/157, 138 -143.
  • M. Wickel, C. Zengerling (2011). BauGB-Novelle und kommunaler Klimaschutz. PLANERIN 2/11, 59-60.
  • C. Zengerling (2010). Sustainable Development and International (Environmental) Law – Integration vs. Fragmentation. Zeitschrift für Europäisches Umwelt- und Planungsrecht (EurUP), 8, 175-186.


Book reviews:

  • C. Zengerling (2017). Lehren aus 35 Jahren Tragik der Allmende, Rezension Lena Jahrmarkt - Internationales Klimaschutzrecht. Vereinte Nationen 6/2017, 280.
  • C. Zengerling (2007). Jura feministisch studieren, Rezension Foljanty/Lembke (Eds.) - Feministische Rechtswissenschaft. Forum Recht, 2, 66.


Legal opinions:

  • Harrison J.; Paulini, S.; Ankersmit. L.; van Asselt, H.; Barros-Platiau, A.; Eslava, L.; Harstad, B.; Marzano, K.; Raza, W.; Rittl, C.; Zengerling, C. (2021). Academic Statement: Proposals on the EU-Mercosur Association Agreement and the Environment, 8 Feb 2021, abrufbar unter:
  • C. Zengerling (2020). Stärkung von Klimaschutz und Entwicklung durch internationales Handelsrecht - Eine Untersuchung des Rechts der WTO, regionaler Freihandelsabkommen und Wirtschaftspartnerschaftsabkommen der EU unter besonderer Berücksichtigung nachhaltiger Landnutzung", Expertise im Auftrag des Wissenschaftlichen Beirats der Bundesregierung Globale Umweltveränderung, Mai 2020, abrufbar unter: (English version will be published in a couple of weeks)
  • C. Zengerling (2017), E-Quartier Hamburg - Elektromobilität in urbanen Wohnquartieren, Rechtsgutachten (Projekt der Modellregion Hamburg, gefördert durch das BMVBS), November 2017. Abrufbar unter:
  • C. Zengerling (2014). "Rechtliche Bewertung einzelner Regelungen des EEG-Referentenentwurfes vom 4. März 2014" (Legal Assessment of Selected Regulations in the German Renewable Energy Sources Act of 4 March 2014), on behalf of Greenpeace e.V. during the association hearing on the German Renewable Energy Sources Act 2014, March 2014.


Download of the full publication list.


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Supervision of Doctoral Theses


  • Nikita M. John, tba. (Promoter and supervisor: Jun.-Prof. Dr. C. Zengerling; Co-promoter: tba. ) / Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg, ongoing

  • Lisa Harseim, The role of world cities for accountable multi-scalar phosphorus (P) flow governance in globalized food systems. (working title), promoter and supervisor: Jun.-Prof. Dr. C. Zengerling,  Albert-Ludwigs-University Freiburg; co-promoter: Assoc.-Prof. Dr. Genevieve Metson, Linköping University, ongoing.

  • Kavya Madhu, Influence of different circular economy building blocks on the environmental footprint of household appliances, second supervisor (first supervisor: Prof. Dr. Stefan Pauliuk), ongoing.

  • Emilie D'Amico, Instruments and practices of global urban governance in the face of the global carbon neutrality goal, co-advisor (principal advisor: Prof. Dr. Stefan Aykut), University of Hamburg, CLICCS, ongoing.

  • Michiel Stapper, Do contracts have politics? Contracts, consultants, and urban development in the age of participation, member of doctoral committee, University of Amsterdam, defense in November 2020.


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Presentations (selection)


Invited talks and panel contributions

  • "Urbane Materialflüsse verstehen - Herausforderungen und kommunale Handlungsoptionen", 9. Kongress Energieautonome Kommunen, Freiburg, February 2020
  • Experteninterview "Umwelt- und Klimaschutz im Welthandelssystem", Wissenschaftlicher Beirat der Bundesregierung Globale Umweltveränderung (WBGU), Berlin, January 2020
  • "International Trade and the Environmental Rule of Law - The influence of NAFTA and EU-Mercosur on the development and implementation of environmental law", The Environmental Rule of Law, Fórum de Democracia Europa - Brasil, Senate, Brasilia, November 2019
  • "Climate and Trade - An Overview", Diálogos Futuro Sustentável - Climate and Free Trade, Rio de Janeiro, November 2019
  • Session "Urbanites Without Footprints" at the City Science Summit "Cities Without", HafenCity University Hamburg, City Science Lab in cooperation with MIT Media Lab, Hamburg, October 2019
  • "Science for Accountable Governance", Inaugural lecture of the Klimapolis Laboratory, IAG, University of São Paulo, Brazil, May 2019
  • "Die Rolle von Klimaklagen im Transformationsprozess“, Jahrestagung des Deutschen Klimakonsortiums, Berlin, April 2019.
  • "Kommunaler Klimaschutz – Recht und Praxis“, 24. Leipziger Umweltrechtssymposion, Leipzig, March 2019.
  • "Aufbau von Ladeinfrastruktur auf privaten Flächen - Kommunale Steuerungsinstrumente", Institut für Städtebau, Berlin, January 2019.
  • "The Importance of Measuring for Accountable Air Pollution and Climate Change Governance", Klimapolis/CityLab Workshop, Hamburg, December 2018.
  • "Urban Footprints - Wie Städte ihren ökologischen Fußabdruck verantworten", Interdisziplinäres Kolloquium 'Umkämpfte Räume', Europa-University Flensburg, November 2018.
  • "Towards Greater Accountability in Urban Environmental Governance – Air Pollution vs. Climate Change”, Klimapolis/CityLab Workshop, University of São Paulo, Brazil, August 2018.
  • Panelist, Panel Dicussion "Desired Trajectories”, Workshop „Desired Trajectories for the Earth System in the 21st Century”, HanseWissenschaftskolleg Delmenhorst, Prof. Dr. Guy Brasseur, Max-Planck-Institut for Meteorology, Hamburg, March 2018.
  • "Elektromobilität in urbanen Wohnquartieren – Instrumente zur Aktivierung privater Flächen“, Forum Bauen und Mobilität, Zentrum für Energie, Bauen, Architektur und Umwelt (ZEBAU), Hamburg, February 2018
  • "e-Quartier – Elektromobilität in urbanen Wohnquartieren: Ergebnisse des Rechtsgutachtens”, Hamburg State Ministries of Environment and Energy as well as Urban Development and Housing, Hamburg, January 2018.
  • "Urbane Fußabdrücke”, presentation in the context of the research project „Steuerbare urbane Stoffströme – Möglichkeiten und Grenzen der nachhaltigen Steuerung städtischer und stadtregionaler Stoffströme mittels Instrumenten der Stadtplanung (FKZ: 3717 3510 10), 2. Projekttreffen, Deutsches Institut für Urbanistik (Difu), Berlin, December 2017.
  • "Urbane Fußabdrücke - Verantwortung und Verbindlichkeit in der Steuerung kommunaler Treibhausgasemissionen", UPPW - Umwelt- und Planungsrecht in Praxis und Wissenschaft, Martin-Luther-University Halle-Wittenberg in cooperation with German Environmental Protection Agency (Umweltbundesamt), January 2017.
  • "International Climate Change Governance - The Role of Environmental NGOs”, Hamburg International Environmental Law Conference (HIELC), Bucerius Law School, Hamburg, September 2013.


Further talks

  • "Urban Footprints – Towards Greater Accountability in the Governance of Cities‘ Carbon and Material Flows“, Präsentation und Diskussion des Forschungsprojektes ”Urban Footprints“ an der University of Cairo, Faculty of Engineering und an der Helwan University, Faculty of Fine Arts, Cairo, September 2018.
  • "ChangeMakerSpace”, development and presentation of a project idea to contribute to the implementation of SDGs 11 and 16 in and intercultural and interdisciplinary working group, UNLEASH Innovation Lab 2018 for the UN Sustainable Development Goals, Singapore, June 2018.
  • "Accountable Governance of Cities' GHG Emissions", RAMSES Cities and Climate Conference 2017, Potsdam, September 2017.
  • "Sustainable Management of Natural Resources - The Role of European Cities", 5th European Environmental Law Forum (EELF) Annual Conference, Copenhagen, August/September 2017.
  • "Multi-level Climate Governance in Germany - The Opportunities and Constraints in Formal and Informal Instruments from a Legal Perspective", AESOP Annual Congress 2017, Lisbon, July 2017.
  • "Action on Climate Change Mitigation in German and Chinese Cities - A Search for Emerging Patterns of Accountability", Planning, Law and Property Rights (PLPR) Annual Meeting 2017: “Institutional Innovations in Land Development and Planning in the 20th and 21st century”, Hong Kong, February 2017.
  • "Access to Justice in International Judicial and Quasi-Judicial Procedures – the Case for Strengthening Procedural Rights of Environmental NGOs,  4th Annual Conference of European Environmental Law Forum: "Procedural Environmental Rights: Principle X in Theory and Practice", Wroclaw, September 2016.
  • "Umweltverbände als Anwälte der Natur”, Symposium „Natur im Recht – Rechte der Natur?”, Forschungsstelle Umweltrecht, University of Hamburg in cooperation with Haus der Zukunkft Hamburg, July 2013.
  • "Öffnung von Wärmenetzen – Erneuerbare Energien und Liberalisierung”, Disserationskolloquium, University of Hamburg, June 2013.
  • "Beteiligung von Umweltverbänden an internationalen Streitschlichtungsverfahren – Welthandelsorganisation (WTO) und Internationales Zentrum zur Beilegung von Investitionsstreitigkeiten (ICSID)”, Ph.D. seminar Prof. Dr. Markus Krajewski, Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nürnberg, August 2011.
  • "Öffentlichkeitsbeteiligung und Integration im Recht”, Junges Forum der Akademie für Raumforschung und Landesplanung, Hamburg, June 2009.


Poster presentation

  •  "SDG 11 and the Governance of Urban Carbon and Material Footprints“, GRC Industrial Ecology Conference 2018: „The Role of Industrial Ecology in Reaching the Sustainable Development Goals”, Les Diablerets, Schweiz, Mai 2018.


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  • International Law Association / Deutsche Vereinigung für Internationales Recht / Study Group on the Role of Cities in International Law
  • Gesellschaft für Umweltrecht (Environmental Law Society) e.V. (GfU)
  • Hamburg International Environmental Law Conference e.V.
  • International Academic Association on Planning, Law, and Property Rights (PLPR)
  • European Environmental Law Forum (EELF)
  • International Society for Industrial Ecology - Sustainable Urban Metabolism & Socioeconomic Metabolism Section
  • Future Earth Open Network


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