climate change, human rights, international human rights, jurisdiction, current and future generations, treaty law, customary international law, SU national courts, Alien Tort Statute
Much has been written about the growing impact of Global Climate Change on human rights as diverse as life, health, property and culture. 2 This article addresses the broad question of the extent to which international human rights norms may be asserted to protect current and future generations from the effects of global climate change. Part II of the article will consider potentially applicable norms in both treaty law and customary international law. Part III will explore the procedures for asserting these rights in the United States’ national courts and the substantive and procedural hurdles for doing so. The principal focus of this exploration will be claims in federal court under the Alien Tort Statute (“ATS”) 3 and under the general federal question statutory grant. 4 The possibility of raising these international human rights norms in state courts will also be considered. Finally, Part IV will discuss raising such claims in a regional or international forum, in particular the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (“IACHR”), addressing again the substantive and procedural hurdles for doing so.
The article concludes that while such claims may not be entirely foreclosed, they are unlikely to succeed until the international norms are clearer and more universally accepted. Standing and other justiciability issues will prove difficult to overcome in some of these cases; however, the main obstacles to overcome will be subject matter jurisdiction, the related issue of failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted in national courts, …
(2010) 21 Colorado Journal of International Environmental Law and Policy 49