Climate Change and Human Rights: Unpacking the Issues
14 Pages Posted: 1 Apr 2010 Last revised: 11 Sep 2010
Date Written: September 8, 2010
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.
Keywords: climate change, human rights
JEL Classification: K32, K33
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation