The Human Right to a Safe Environment: Philosophical Perspectives on Its Scope and Justification (J. W. Nickel)

Author(s)

James W. Nickel

Keywords

right to a safe environment, environmental norms, philosophical perspectives, human rights

Abstract

INTRODUCTION

In the last twenty-five years, environmentalists have sought recognition for the right to a safe environment (RSE) in national and international fora. As a result, some countries have recognized RSE in their constitutions. Nevertheless, much skepticism exists about whether RSE is a genuine human right, and advocates of RSE still need to persuade critics that this right merits national and international recognition. This article presents a normative defense of RSE. It argues that a right to a safe environment – defined narrowly – is a genuine human right because it passes appropriate justificatory tests. Part I defends the modest use of the language of rights in expressing environmental norms. Part II offers a narrow account of the scope of RSE. Part III provides a justification for RSE as conceived in part II.

Citation

(1993) 18 Yale Journal of International Law 281.

Paper

The Human Right to a Safe Environment: Philosophical Perspectives on Its Scope and Justification

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