Tag Archives: climate change

The Right to be Cold: Global Warming and Human Rights (M. Wagner)

Author(s)

Martin Wagner

Keywords

Climate Change, Human Rights, Indigenous People, Inuit, The Right to Be Cold, Cultural Rights

Excerpt

The relationship between global warming and human rights is something that is beginning to be talked about now, but six or seven years ago no-one had made the connection.  I am going to explore the relationship through the context of some work I have done with the Inuit people of the Arctic regions of the world, and in particular a case that I have brought on their behalf. I want you to remember that this connection between global warming and human rights is not limited by any means to the people of the Arctic; there are potential human rights implications of global warming everywhere around the world.
{…]
So you have the Inuit culture that depends on the ice, snow and cold and you have the effects of global warming in the Arctic. It all raises the question: Is there a human right to be cold? Or to make it more global, is there a human right, for example, to be dry? Let me explain about why I think there is a connection between human rights and global warming. The first thing to remember is that international law and the international community recognise a special place for indigenous people in the community of nations and the special responsibility of nations. But in particular, international human rights recognises that there is a connection between indigenous people and the territory that they occupy and depend on for their livelihood and for their culture that is special and it needs to be
maintained and protected. That is relevant because many of the most vulnerable communities that are being affected first by global warming are indigenous communities.

Citation

(2007) in Human Rights 2007, The Year in Review, Smith and Contini (Eds) (Monash Castan Centre for Human Rights Law, 2008)

Paper

The Right to be Cold: Global Warming and Human Rights (Pre-Publication Conference Paper)

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The Contribution of Human Rights as an Additional Perspective on Climate Change Impacts in the Pacific (S. Tully)

Author(s)

Stephen Tully

Keywords

Climate Change, Human Rights, Climate Impacts, United Nations, Pacific Islands, Resettlement, International Humanitarian Law, International Environmental Law, Environmental Refugees

Abstract

The adverse impacts of climate change include temperature variations, lost biodiversity and more frequent extreme weather events. In particular, low-lying Pacific Island countries and territories will be inundated if predicted sea level rises eventuate. These impacts threaten the continued enjoyment by Pacific Islanders of their fundamental human rights. Rising sea levels threatens their personal safety, continued good health, secure access to proper means of subsistence including food and water and the habitability of coastal settlements. The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change encourages developed states to adopt measures that mitigate greenhouse gas emissions and financially support adaptation activity undertaken by developing countries. However, several states lack the requisite political will, financial support is inadequate, adaptation measures are limited and small island developing states are becoming increasingly vulnerable. This article provides an overview of climate change impacts within the Pacific region in human rights terms. It argues that the strategy of adaptation, although consistent with the sustainable development agenda, is limited as an effective long-term response to sea level rise. It proposes an international framework that ensures, in the worst-case scenario, that affected individuals are relocated and resettled within other states. It draws upon existing and emergent legal regimes with respect to humanitarian assistance, natural disasters, maritime law concerning search and rescue, internally displaced persons, the environmental refugee concept and the obligations of interstate cooperation arising under international environmental law in the event of transboundary harm. This framework will be most effective if underpinned by the many positive contributions to be made by the paradigm for the protection of human rights.

Citation

(2007) 5 New Zealand Journal of Public International Law 175

Paper

The Contribution of Human Rights as an Additional Perspective on Climate Change Impacts in the Pacific

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Keynote Address: Indigenous Peoples and Global Climate Change: Intercultural Models of Climate Equality (R. Tsosie)

Author(s)

Rebecca Tsosie

Keywords

climate change, United States, tribal governance, human rights, Native Nations, development, environmental policy, energy development, decision-making

Abstract

This essay discusses the place of indigenous peoples within the politics of climate change. In the United States, contemporary policymakers understand federally-recognized Indian tribes as “domestic dependent nations.” In that capacity, tribal governments have the power to address many environmental issues arising on their reservation lands and impacting their members. At the level of international policy, Native Nations are designated as “indigenous peoples,” with a distinctive set of human rights related to their unique identity as land-based communities with longstanding cultural connections to their environments. Sometimes those two identities operate consistently, allowing Native Nations to preclude forms of energy development that threaten their lands, communities, and cultures, as the Navajo Nation did when it enacted the Dine Natural Resources Protection Act of 2005, which banned uranium mining within Navajo Indian Country. Sometimes, however, the identities may be in tension. For example, coal and oil extraction may benefit the economic interests of Native Nations which hold ownership interests in these resources, but may jeopardize the subsistence lifeways of other Native peoples who depend upon the integrity of their lands and waters, as well as the plants, animals and fish in those natural environments. In the era of climate change, these tensions are becoming particularly apparent, forcing Native peoples and policymakers to make difficult decisions about the optimal energy policies to guide the future. This essay compares the predominant model of decision-making, which uses a utilitarian cost-benefit analysis to construct the optimal policy to serve the interests of national and tribal governments in the present day, with the type of long-range thinking used by many land-based indigenous communities to promote sustainable use of lands and resources for several generations. The essay concludes that the current challenge of climate change poses an opportunity to transform our ways of thinking about environmental policy and energy development.

Citation

(2010) Journal of Environmental Law and Litigation 25 (1)

Paper

Keynote Address : Indigenous Peoples and Global Climate Change: Intercultural Models of Climate Equity

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Applying Human Rights Norms to Climate Change: The Elusive Remedy (P. Stephens)

Author

Pamela Stephens

Keywords

climate change, human rights, international human rights, jurisdiction, current and future generations, treaty law, customary international law, SU national courts, Alien Tort Statute

Excerpt

I. Introduction
 
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, …

Citation

(2010) 21 Colorado Journal of International Environmental Law and Policy 49

Paper

Applying Human Rights Norms to Climate Change: The Elusive Remedy

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International Legal Regimes to Manage Indigenous Rights and Arctic Disputes from Climate Change (R. Snyder)

Author

Robert Snyder

Keywords

international law, indigenous rights, Arctic states, climate change, Arctic ice recedes

Excerpt

I. Introduction

Escalating tensions between the Arctic states – Russia, Denmark, Norway, Iceland, Canada, Sweden, Finland, and the United States – have caught indigenous people in the middle because as Arctic ice recedes, the Arctic states have positioned themselves to obtain control over the largest area of the Arctic Ocean possible. 1 The larger the maritime zones under an Arctic state’s control the more Arctic riches it controls. An often marginalized feature of this incipient struggle is that Arctic states’ delineation of the Exclusive Economic Zone (“EEZ”) poses great threats to the livelihood and survival of indigenous peoples. 2

A country’s EEZ lies just beyond its territorial waters and can extend up to 200 miles from the shore (and sometimes farther). 3 The 1982 Convention on the Law of the Sea (“LOST”) 4 allows a state to govern the “resources and activities in the water column and ocean surface” 5 that lie within its EEZ. Historically, few territorial disputes have occurred in the Arctic, 6 and so the Arctic states have had little incentive to address common concerns or issues in the region. 7 But the first 1958 Geneva Convention on the Law of the Sea, 8 and later the 1982 LOST, changed the status quo. 9 These treaties legitimized more expansive maritime zones, creating conditions rife with potential for interstate disputes. 10

When Arctic states establish their EEZs, not only do they potentially antagonize adjacent states with competing claims; they also may infringe on traditional indigenous hunting …

Citation

(2011) 22 Colorado Journal of International Environmental Law and Policy 1

Paper

International Legal Regimes to Manage Indigenous Rights and Arctic Disputes from Climate Change

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