What is it about?

Climate change can soon deprive people of clean air, safe drinking water, and a secure shelter, which may be considered a clear violation of their basic human rights. A study examines recent trends in international law practice for human rights protection in the climate litigation, as well as the implications of invoking the same in accordance with a report or framework recognized by the Human Rights Council.

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Why is it important?

The 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change emphasised the importance of protecting people’s right to health in the face of environmental damage. The current framework promotes carbon-reduction measures that prioritize vulnerable individuals and communities. It does, however, have a set of legal mandates that must be fulfilled, which also means it is now possible to hold the government responsible for failure to meet these obligations. Human rights must be considered during the making, monitoring, and enforcement of climate policy, with children's health being a top priority. Essentially, access to ‘relief remedies’ and ‘climate justice’ have both been identified as legal requirements, with the liability resting on governments for their proper implementation. Regulations that enforce obligation on part of governments to take necessary actions affecting change empower the people, particularly the youth, to take legal actions against non-complying governments. The article not only highlights some of these cases but also warns that the right to health is gaining traction in international climate law and the number of such cases could escalate. KEY TAKEAWAY Climate justice to defend the ‘right to health’ is soon to become one of the fundamental arguments in climate litigation before international courts of law and will be crucial in shaping carbon mitigation and adaptation plans.

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This page is a summary of: Climate Change and Global Health, International Community Law Review, June 2021, Brill, DOI: 10.1163/18719732-12341472.
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