Recalibrating The Law of Humans with The Laws of Nature: Climate Change, Human Rights, and Intergenerational Justice

109 Pages Posted: 5 Aug 2009 Last revised: 19 Nov 2014

See all articles by Burns H. Weston

Burns H. Weston

University of Iowa-Deceased

Tracy Bach

Vermont Law School

Date Written: August 3, 2009

Abstract

In 'Recalibrating the Law of Humans with the Laws of Nature', Professors Bach and Weston argue that intergenerational rights should be explicitly taken into account when making climate policy. After exploring the well developed ethical and philosophical literature on intergenerational justice, the authors turn to three intergenerational equity principles developed by Professor Edith Brown Weiss in her 1989 book, In Fairness to Future Generations: conservation of diversity, quality, and equity. The authors trace how these principles have been at the heart of environmental laws in the U.S., in several common and civil law countries, and in international treaties. But they also underscore how they’ve failed to operate to prevent climate change. The authors conclude by offering sixteen recommendations for incorporating intergenerational principles into climate change lawmaking, to ensure that future generations’ interests are accounted for when creating sustainable laws in a carbon-constrained world.

Keywords: climate change, intergenerational justice, intergenerational equity, climate policy, international law, international environmental law, Edith Brown Weiss, conservation of options, conservation of quality, conservation of access, sustainable law, carbon-constrained world

Suggested Citation

Weston, Burns H. and Bach, Tracy, Recalibrating The Law of Humans with The Laws of Nature: Climate Change, Human Rights, and Intergenerational Justice (August 3, 2009). Vermont Law School Research Paper No. #10-06, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1443243 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1443243

Burns H. Weston (Contact Author)

University of Iowa-Deceased

405 Boyd Law Building
Iowa City, IA 52242-1097
United States

Tracy Bach

Vermont Law School ( email )

68 North Windsor Street
P.O. Box 60
South Royalton, VT 05068
United States

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