Climate Change and Human Rights
This chapter examines the inter-relationship between human rights and climate change, a linkage that has been given little attention, but whose importance is likely to grow in the coming years. Some aspects of the relationship between climate change and human rights have been selected, especially those that have emerged as having most potential in influencing climate change governance. We will identify how climate change, with its dramatic consequences, impacts the enjoyment of human rights and has already led to a human rights petition against the United States. We will, then, turn to the implications of human rights to the functioning of the climate change regime, such as how the emerging rights to participate in environmental decision-making are reflected in the negotiation process of defining the elements of the current climate change regime. More difficult question on whether human rights can or even should influence the future design of the climate change regime will be examined. The concluding remarks will focus on evaluating the pros and cons of using human rights in the struggle against climate change impacts and the influence of human rights on the design and operation of the climate change regime.