What is it about?

The rapidly changing climate is a major threat to our planet. It has emerged as a matter of global concern—affecting food security, energy resources, and infrastructure. Its impact may, however, be magnified for socioeconomically vulnerable and marginalised populations across the world. While this skew is being increasingly recognised by international bodies concerned with climate change and human rights policies, the implementation of safe climate as a human right is yet to occur. This is partly due to a lack of political will and partly because the right to a safe climate is not yet part of the UN human rights system. This study argues the need to include the right to a safe climate as a separate UN human rights category and outlines two ways in which this can be achieved.

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Why is it important?

Socioeconomically vulnerable populations often lack access to resources and measures to cope with and recover from the adverse effects of climate change. Moreover, the causes of climate change and preventive measures adopted are often disproportionate across developed and developing nations. The right to a safe climate under the UN human rights system will create a global requirement for climate interventions to be tailored towards meeting the specific needs of these communities, regardless of where they are in the world. It will act as a tool to implement existing policies to assist these communities. It will also empower their voices, giving them a strong legal basis for claiming the right to basic amenities. KEY TAKEAWAY: Climate change impacts the socio-economically vulnerable populations the most. Formulation of an internationally recognised human right to a safe cli-mate will help minimise these communities’ struggle for basic amenities during such testing times.

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This page is a summary of: Arguing the Right to a Safe Climate under the UN Human Rights System, International Human Rights Law Review, October 2020, Brill,
DOI: 10.1163/22131035-00902001.
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