Climate Change and Human Rights: Unpacking the Issues
Arizona State University Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law
September 8, 2010
Georgia Journal of International and Comparative Law, Vol. 38, p. 511, 2010
UGA Legal Studies Research Paper No. 10-05
Global warming is expected to contribute to many human wrongs: disease, malnutrition, flooding of coastal communities. But does every human wrong violate a human right? Should we conceptualize climate change not only as an environmental problem – the preeminent one of our time – but also as a human rights violation? Proposals to treat climate change as a human rights problem raise many fundamental questions. Theoretically, what does it mean to conceptualize climate change in human rights terms? How would a human rights approach differ from treating climate change as an environmental or economic or scientific problem? Descriptively, what does human rights law say about climate change and, conversely, what does climate change law say about human rights? Normatively, does it make sense to approach climate change as a human rights issue? What are the pros and cons? This brief introduction to a symposium issue of the Georgia Journal of International and Comparative Law on climate change and human rights seeks to map out the overarching distinctions and questions.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 14
Keywords: climate change, human rights
JEL Classification: K32, K33
Date posted: April 1, 2010 ; Last revised: September 11, 2010
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