As the effects of climate change continue to be felt, appreciation of its future transformational impact on numerous areas of public law and policy is set to grow. Among these, human rights concerns are particularly acute. They include forced mass migration, increased disease incidence and strain on healthcare systems, threatened food and water security, the disappearance and degradation of shelter, land, livelihoods and cultures and the threat of conflict.
This inquiry into the human rights dimensions of climate change looks beyond potential impacts to examine the questions raised by climate change policies: accountability for extraterritorial harms; constructing reliable enforcement mechanisms; assessing redistributional outcomes; and allocating burdens, benefits, rights and duties among perpetrators and victims, both public and private. Human Rights and Climate Change examines a range of so-far unexplored theoretical and practical concerns that international law and other scholars and policy-framers will find increasingly difficult to ignore.
"What this collection does for the first time, however, is think through the human rights implications of climate change and ask how the substantial body of international human rights law and experience relates to that phenomenon. [...] As the present collection progressively clarifies, if we build human rights criteria into our future planning, we will better understand who is at risk and how we should act to protect them."
- Mary Robinson, President of Realising Rights: The Ethical Globalisation Initiative
"Human Rights and Climate Change does an excellent job of analysing the many links between climate change and human rights. As the consequences of climate change will manifest themselves over time, human-rights lawyers, courts, and tribunals are likely to find themselves confronted with climate-change-related questions, and [this book] is a good place to start reading about them."
- Ole W. Pedersen, University of Newcastle
Introduction: the human rights dimensions of climate change Stephen Humphreys
Part I. Rights Perspectives on Global Warming:
1. Competing justice claims: human rights, climate harms and international disorder Stephen Humphreys
2. Climate change, human rights and moral thresholds Simon Caney
3. Equitable utilization of the atmosphere: a rights-based approach to climate change? Dinah Shelton
4. Climate change, human rights and corporate accountability Peter Newell
5. Rethinking human rights: the impact of climate change on the dominant discourse Sam Adelman
Part II. Priorities, Risks and Inequities in Global Responses:
6. The Kyoto protocol and vulnerability: equity and human rights dimensions Philippe Cullet
7. Forests, climate change and human rights: managing risks and trade-offs Frances Seymour
8. Climate change and the right to the highest attainable standard of health Paul Hunt and Rajat Khosla
9. Human rights and vulnerability to climate change Jon Barnett
10. Climate change, evolution of disasters and inequality Kye Mesa Barnard and John Mutter
Part III. Conclusion:
11. Conceiving justice: articulating common causes in parallel regimes Stephen Humphreys
Appendix: climate change impacts on human rights.
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Stephen Humphreys is Research Director at the International Council on Human Rights Policy (ICHRP), an independent research institution based in Geneva, Switzerland. He holds a Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge and has published widely on human rights.