Climate Change, Human Rights and Moral Thresholds
This essay examines the relationship between climate change and human rights. It argues that climate change is unjust, in part, because it jeopardizes several core rights – including the right to life, the right to food and the right to health. It then argues that adopting a human rights framework has six implications for climate policies. To give some examples, it argues that this helps us to understand the concept of “dangerous anthropogenic interference” (UNFCCC, Article 2). In addition to this, it argues that if we adopt a human rights framework then any climate policies should also honour human rights, and so mitigation policies, for example, should not compromise people’s enjoyment of their human rights. A third implication, I argue, is that in addition to duties of mitigation and adaptation there will also be – if rights are violated – duties of compensation too.