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Climate Change and Human Rights: Unpacking the Issues

14 Pages Posted: 1 Apr 2010 Last revised: 11 Sep 2010

Daniel Bodansky

Arizona State University Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law

Date Written: September 8, 2010

Abstract

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

Bodansky, Daniel, Climate Change and Human Rights: Unpacking the Issues (September 8, 2010). Georgia Journal of International and Comparative Law, Vol. 38, p. 511, 2010; UGA Legal Studies Research Paper No. 10-05. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1581555

Daniel Bodansky (Contact Author)

Arizona State University Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law ( email )

Box 877906
Tempe, AZ 85287-7906
United States

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