Against Nationalism: Climate Change, Human Rights, and International Law

Danish Yearbook of Philosophy 55 (2):173-198 (2022)
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Climate change threatens humanity more than anything else. If we talk of nationalism, we ought therefore consider its pros and cons in light of the climate emergency. Anatol Lieven believes that civic nationalism along the lines of Chaim Gans, David Miller, and Yuli Tamir helps combat global warming. He thinks that when nationalists recognize that climate change is just as threatening to the survival of their nation-state as wars, they will make the sacrifices necessary to avert the threat. In this view, the military has an important role, and migration will have to be restricted. In this paper, I show that this solution is at best highly risky, and more probably unsound. However difficult it will be to realize, addressing climate change must be based on international cooperation, normatively grounded in human rights. I show how international law rather than civic nationalism gives us examples of how to go forward.



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Boudewijn de Bruin
University of Groningen

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