Climate Change

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Expanding Human Rights Obligations to Facilitate Climate Justice? A Note on Shortcomings and Risks

COP26 in Glasgow has reinvigorated the already vibrant and urgent discussions about climate justice, what it means, and how to achieve it. One strategy that enjoys significant traction is the idea that expanding states’ human obligations will close the accountability gap in climate law or facilitate climate justice. Recent trends in climate change litigation, in particular, have witnessed a ‘rights turn’. An increasing share of cases filed make use of human rights arguments or institutions and the overall trend is accelerating. Over a hundred human rights cases have been captured in relevant climate law databases to date, with over a third of those brought within the past two years (see here at page 32). This post considers the prospects and problems of relying on human rights in litigation to facilitate climate justice and to close the accountability gap in climate law. Human rights are powerful tools for advocacy: they can give voice to the voiceless, protect vital individual interests against overriding economic concerns, and – at their best – can be transformative…

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A Handy Illusion? Interpretation of the ‘Unlikely to Bring Effective Relief’ Limb of Article 7(e) OPIC by the CRC in Saachi et. al.

In an EJIL Talk! blog post, Aoife Nolan laid out the salient aspects of the five inadmissibility decisions in Saachi et al. v. Argentina, Brazil, France, Germany and Turkey delivered by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child on 8 October 2021. Her post focussed on how the Committee handled key…

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Children’s Rights and Climate Change at the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child: Pragmatism and Principle in Sacchi v Argentina

On 11 October 2021, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child published its decisions in complaints brought against five states – Argentina, Brazil, France, Germany and Turkey – by 16 child complainants under the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the rights of the Child on a Complaints Procedure (OPIC).

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The UN HRC recognizes the right to a healthy environment and appoints a new Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and Climate Change. What does it all mean?

On Friday 8 October, the UN Human Rights Council adopted Resolution 48/13, recognising for first time that having a clean, healthy and sustainable environment is a human right and calling on UN Member States to cooperate to implement this right. On the same day, the Council adopted Resolution 48/14, establishing a Special Rapporteur on…

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Just Transitions in Climate Change Actions: Are States Respecting, Promoting, and Considering Human Rights Obligations in Setting and Implementing NDCs?

Recent exchanges hosted on EJIL:Talk! on climate action and how to go about "mainstreaming" it (see here and here) provide a microcosmic view of the ongoing challenges of State policies to transition and transform economies to reach treaty commitments under the Paris Agreement, including States' commitments as indicated in their publicly registered nationally determined contributions.  International…

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