Category Archives: Global Warming

Human Rights Obligations and Accountability in the Face of Change (M. Limon)

Author(s)

Marc Limon

Keywords

small island developing states, climate change, international human rights, obligations, accountability, global warming, vulnerable people

Abstract

In November 2007, Small Island Developing States, meeting in the Maldives, adopted the Male’ Declaration on the Human Dimension of Global Climate Change.’ The declaration laid down a roadmap for actions within the UN system designed to explore and draw attention to the relationship between global warming and the full enjoyment of human rights. In June 2009 the various steps foreseen in the Male’ Declaration reached their conclusion when the United Nations Human Rights Council (the Council or the Human Rights Council) held a dedicated interactive panel debate on the relationship between human rights and climate change during its Eleventh Session in June 2009.

The present time, therefore, offers an important opportunity to take stock of progress achieved since the Male’ Declaration was adopted, to assess the current situation, and to consider possible next steps. This Article will offer an assessment of what has been achieved by the rapidly evolving international agenda on human rights and climate change. It will do so by looking at how the international understanding of the complex and multifaceted relationship between climate change and human rights has evolved over the past one and a half years. This will entail an analysis of the degree to which the international community, through the process launched by the Male’ Declaration, has answered three crucial questions pertaining to the human rights climate change interface:

1. Is there a relationship between climate change and human rights, and if so, what is the nature of that relationship?

2. Does climate change constitute a violation of human rights, especially the rights of vulnerable people?

3. Irrespective of whether climate change represents a human rights violation, what are states’ national-level and international-level human rights obligations pertaining to climate change?

After assessing progress in addressing these three central questions, the Article will then move to propose possible next steps, on behalf of the international community, to further clarify the issues at hand and to transpose that understanding into actual mechanisms to better promote and protect human rights in the face of climate change.

This Article will focus solely on actions undertaken within the context of the United Nations Human Rights Council and related international human rights mechanisms. Although academia and non-governmental bodies have played a crucial role in the evolution of the human rights, climate change agenda, their contribution will not be covered here. Moreover, in analyzing progress, the Article will focus on the evolution of hard and soft law in the area, and not on the broader perceptional achievements of the human rights and climate change agenda. Notwithstanding this necessary (for reasons of space) omission, it is clear that such perceptional achievements (i.e., how seeing climate change through a human rights lens has changed the nature of the international conversation on the subject) have been extremely significant (and probably more so than legal achievements).

Citation

(2010) 38 Georgia Journal of International and Comparative Law 543

Paper

Human Rights Obligations and Accountability in the Face of Change

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Human Rights Approach to Environmental Protection (P. Pathak)

Author

Puneet Pathak

Keywords

Development, Environment, Human Rights, Sustainable Development

Abstract

Environmental protection and human rights are interrelated, interconnected, and mutually responsive as both of them intended to the well-being of humanity. Safe and healthy environment is the pre-condition for the enjoyment of fundamental human rights. The linkage between these two approaches has recognised in various international and regional instruments, resolutions of the UN subsidiary organization, the outcome documents of international conferences, and the judicial pronouncement of tribunals, which consider the human rights framework as an effective means to achieving the ends of environment protection. Despite the evident relationship between these two, human rights violations and environmental degradation have been treated by most organizations, governments and even academia as unrelated issues. Environmentalists have tended to focus primarily on natural resource preservation without addressing human impacts of environmental abuse. A state of natural imbalance has been developed by many human-centric activities such as the industrialization, urbanization and the large scale exploitation of natural resources damaging the environment led to many serious repercussions on a large scale including Global Warming, drought, flood, environmental Refugees and migration, health issue, Ozone Depletion. Such issues involves not only environmental factors but other factors as well i.e. political, social, economic factors which requires the integration of both approaches to tackle the issues more holistically. The result of looking these two approaches separately is that the victims of environmental degradation are unprotected by the laws and mechanisms established to address human rights abuses. Linking human rights with the environment creates a rights-based approach to environmental protection that places the people harmed by environmental degradation at its center. Articulating the fundamental rights of peoples with respect to the environment creates the opportunity to secure those rights through human rights bodies in an international forum as well as the national tribunals. In this regard, the contribution made by the Indian judiciary for the protection of environment and to provide remedies to the victim of environmental harm by applying the right based approach to environmental protection is a clear example of how the framework of human rights can contribute in the protection of environment and the very existence of the humanity. The concept of sustainable development is very well served to interlink these approaches as it comprising three interrelated dimensions: environmental, economic and social. The present study is intended to describe the interlink between environmental protection and human rights approaches by analyzing instruments, initiatives taken by environmental and human rights bodies and the judicial pronouncement of various tribunals. Further it also evaluates how far the mechanism of human rights is helpful to provide remedies to the victim of environmental degradation and to provide better protection to the global environment

Citation

P. Pathak, Human Rights Approach to Environmental Protection (2014) Vol. 07, No. 01, OIDA International Journal of Sustainable Development,  pp. 17-24

Paper

Human Rights Approach to Environmental Protection

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Human Rights and the Evolution of Global Environmental Law (R.V. Percival)

Author

Robert V. Percival

Keywords

environmental concerns, environmental standards, human rights, international law

Abstract

Environmental problems that jeopardize the health of humans increasingly implicate concerns that have played an important role in the development of international human rights. While some have questioned the wisdom or effectiveness of focusing human rights concerns on environmental problems, it seems an inevitable response to the failure of many countries to protect their citizens adequately from harm caused by environmental degradation. This paper reviews efforts to apply human rights concerns to environmental problems. It describes how these developments illustrate the growth of a kind of “global environmental law” that blurs traditional distinctions between domestic and international law and public and private law. It explores how principles of human rights are influencing the evolution of global environmental law with particular emphasis on the emerging right of humans to access adequate supplies of safe water.

The chapter concludes that environmental standards can be expected to improve significantly in the developing world as countries devote greater effort to upgrading their legal and technological infrastructures to prevent environmental harm. Although the growing global recognition of human rights to a clean and healthy environment is encouraging, full achievement of its promise must depend for the immediate future on the development of enforceable domestic laws. Yet as governments and environmental NGOs increasingly coordinate their efforts through global networks, global environmental law will continue to evolve to promote a healthier planet with greater respect for human rights.

Citation

R. V. Percival, Human Rights and the Evolution of Global Environmental Law (2013). Subhram Rajkhowa and Stuti Deka, eds., Economic, Social & Cultural Rights, vol. 2. Eastern Book House, Guwahati, India, 2013; U of Maryland Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2012-66

Paper

Human Rights and the Evolution of Global Environental Law

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A Perfect Moral Storm: Climate Change, Intergenerational Ethics, and the Problem of Moral Corruption (S. Gardiner)

Author(s)

Stephen M. Gardiner

Keywords

intergenerational ethics, moral corruption, global warming, tragedy of the commons, game theory, global environment

Abstract

The peculiar features of the climate change problem pose substantial obstacles to our ability to make the hard choices necessary to address it. Climate change involves the convergence of a set of global, intergenerational and theoretical problems. This convergence justifies calling it a ʻperfect moral stormʼ. One consequence of this storm is that, even if the other difficult ethical questions surrounding climate change could be answered, we might still find it difficult to act. For the storm makes us extremely vulnerable to moral corruption.

Citation

(2006) 15 Environmental Values 397-413

Paper

A Perfect Moral Storm: Climate Change, Intergenerational Ethics, and the Problem of Moral Corruption

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Climate Change, Human Rights, and the Rights to be Cold (J. Harrington)

Author(s)

Joanna Harrington

Keywords

climate change, human rights, United States, human right to be cold, greenhouse gases, human rights violations

Abstract

“I. INTRODUCTION
In December 2005, the Inuit Circumpolar Conference (ICC) (re-named the Inuit Circumpolar Council in July 2006) publicly lodged a lengthy petition against the United States with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (the Commission),1 a Washington D.C.-based organization that is one of two regional human rights bodies operating under the auspices of the Organization of American States (OAS). The petition alleged that the United States, as the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases, was committing various human rights violations against the Inuit residents of the Arctic through its climate change and global warming practices and policies, including its decision not to ratify Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (Kyoto Protocol).2 In essence, the United States was to be sued for violating the human right to be cold. A year later (according to news reports since no verification can be found in the documentation posted on the website maintained by the Commission),3 the ICC received a letter of rejection from the Commission indicating that the ICC petition had failed to meet the basic requirements of admissibility for further[…]”

Citation

(2006-07) 18 Fordham Environmental Law Review 513

Paper

Climate Change, Human Rights, and the Right to be Cold

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