Climate & Environment

The climate emergency is upon us. Extreme weather events, rising water levels, air pollution compounded by high temperatures and other impacts of global warming pose significant threats to present and future generations around the world.They particularly affect people in the global South, who are already struggling to access their rights to water, food, shelter, livelihood, and culture. What is the role of human rights in climate and environmental advocacy and what are the opportunities and challenges for human rights advocacy in the midst of the climate emergency?

 

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Litigating the Climate Emergency

 

Will climate change litigation save the Brazilian Amazon?

By: Caio Borges
Español | Português

A new generation of climate cases being brought before Brazilian courts is addressing climate change more directly in an effort to save the Amazon.

Courts in Pakistan are facilitating climate dialogue between state and citizens

By: Waqqas Mir
Español

There is inherent value in superior courts acting as a platform that facilitates dialogue between the state and citizens. But how far should courts go in their ...

The quest for butterfly climate judging 

By: Catalina Vallejo & Siri Gloppen
Español

With climate litigation, seemingly minor interventions in the legal realm can have a butterfly effect and generate major social and cultural transformations.

Fossil fuel producers and the climate: responsibilities and opportunities

By: Richard Heede
العربية | Español

We can trace the majority of climate-altering emissions to individual fossil fuel companies that have the skills, resources, and moral obligation to help fix the ...

Climate litigation against “Carbon Majors”: economic impacts

By: Joana Setzer
Español

Is climate litigation against so-called “Carbon Majors” capable of changing behaviour and guiding climate change-responsive adjudication in the long term?

Toppling modern-day Goliaths in the fight against climate polluters

By: Hasminah Dimaporo Paudac
Español

In climate litigation in the Philippines against 47 large corporations, a Greenpeace legal team showed that big polluters can be held morally and legally responsible ...

Litigation in Ireland’s Supreme Court may condemn inaction on climate change

By: Victoria Adelmant & Philip Alston & Matthew Blainey
Español

Public support in Ireland for taking action against climate change is high, but the government has not adequately mitigated its impact—a recent Supreme Court case ...

Unprecedented ruling for Indigenous peoples by Inter-American Court of Human Rights

By: Matías Duarte & Diego Morales & Erika Schmidhuber Peña
Español

The Inter-American Court of Human Rights has set a precedent with its decision to grant territorial and ancestral rights to Indigenous peoples in Argentina—how ...

Why ideas and identity matter in climate change litigation

By: Lisa Vanhala
Español

Existing research on climate change litigation ignores questions about who is mobilizing the law to address the climate crisis. But who isn’t turning to the courts ...

Climate litigation through an equality lens

By: James A. Goldston
Español

Applying an equality lens to climate litigation is not just the right thing to do; it’s also more effective.

Climate science in rights-based advocacy contexts

By: Michael Burger & Jessica Wentz & Daniel Metzger
Español

The science showing causal links between climate change, country emissions, and individual harms is a critical component in human rights litigation on climate change.

Litigation to challenge large extractive projects is gaining traction in Africa

By: Pooven Moodley
Español

Communities in Africa are increasingly using litigation to challenge large extractive projects that exacerbate the climate emergency and loss of biodiversity.

Are matters of national survival related to climate change really beyond a court’s power?

By: Sophie Marjanac & Sam Hunter Jones
Español

Courts can adjudicate the effectiveness of emissions reduction policies in protecting fundamental rights without encroaching on the powers of the political branches ...

The farmer or the hero litigator? Modes of climate litigation in the global South

By: Jolene Lin & Jacqueline Peel
Español

Climate litigation shows that the global South experience is a rich and powerful one that offers many opportunities for multi-directional learning.

Judges within their powers: determining the lower limit for countries’ climate action

By: Dennis van Berkel
Español

Are courts able to determine that a government’s climate change policy is insufficient and order governments to do more?

Thinking strategically about climate litigation

By: Ben Batros & Tessa Khan
Español

Climate litigators can learn from human rights actors on how and when to use litigation strategically to create systemic change.

The promises and challenges of climate change litigation in India

By: Arpitha Kodiveri
Español

As India surges forward with an aggressive development agenda, the judiciary’s involvement in climate change litigation is viewed by many as an obstacle to speedy ...

Climate litigation and human rights: averting the next global crisis

By: César Rodríguez-Garavito
Español

OGR's newest series explores a rising wave of lawsuits that is laying bare the profound impacts that a warming planet has on basic human rights and future generations.

The international protection of climate migrants: is Chile up to the challenge?

By: Marianela Garione
Español

Monte Patria in Chile is the first migrant community due to climatic causes in the country—why is it generating so much controversy?

Using legal empowerment to fight exploitative land investors in Sierra Leone

By: Hassan Sesay & Daniel Sesay
Español | Français

Legal empowerment helps locals to understand and claim their rights, resulting in a legal victory for communities in Sierra Leone against exploitative corporations.

Challenging the oil industry through community action in Western Uganda

By: Wangũi wa Kamonji
Español | Português

One women’s group in Uganda is showing that solidarity, community and the determination to sustain generative ways of life can be unstoppable, even in the face ...

Learning from Dalit women fighting for land rights in Punjab

By: Tarini Manchanda
ਪੰਜਾਬੀ | Español | हिन्दी

In Punjab—where about 32% of people are Dalit—Dalit women are fighting for the right to cultivate land, and they are winning.

First UN human rights decision on climate migration—a modest step forward

By: Deborah Casalin
Español

For the first time, a UN body has decided the case of a climate migrant, and in doing so strengthened the duty on states to address climate change because it poses ...

Waorani women resist Ecuador’s extractive agenda in the Amazon

By: Vanessa Daza Castillo
Español | Português

Indigenous women in Ecuador are standing up to an extractive industry that has displaced vulnerable communities and concentrated land ownership in the hands of ...

Indigenous women in Kenya rebuild resilience amidst an eco-cultural crisis

By: Wangũi wa Kamonji
Español | Português

In the face of growing climate change, indigenous women in Kenya are remembering and reinstating their native agricultural practices, to build resilience and reclaim ...

Colombian activists use music and art to call for climate action

By: Vanessa Daza Castillo
Español | Português

In Colombia, children and young people are finding different ways to raise awareness and stimulate action on climate change.

“Our house is on fire”: the Asian climate emergency

By: Beatrice Tulagan
Español | Tagalog

Declaring a climate emergency is not enough, but women activists in Asia are pushing for these declarations to send policy signals across every level of government.

Is climate change worsening gender-based violence in the Pacific Islands?

By: Erin Thomas & Megan Lee Candolfi
Français

In the Pacific Islands, gender inequality and gender-based violence are being exacerbated by climate change, including through natural disasters, migration, and ...

Fiscal policy is key to achieving SDGs and avoiding “climate apartheid”

By: Philip Alston & Nikki Reisch
Español

Delivering on the SDG’s promise to reduce economic inequality requires progressive taxation and effective enforcement to ensure wealthy businesses and individuals ...

Can protecting indigenous human rights also improve conservation efforts?

By: Victoria Tauli-Corpuz
Español | Français

Lands under secure indigenous tenure often have better conservation outcomes—can stronger protections around indigenous rights also protect the environment?

Climate change and human rights: lessons from litigation for the Amazon

By: César Rodríguez-Garavito
Español

Lawsuits have become an increasingly frequent route for urgent action on climate change, but the impact of this litigation depends on citizens’ mobilization

If nature has rights, who legitimately defends them?

By: Arpitha Kodiveri
Español

Who speaks for nature’s rights? The question needs careful consideration, or we risk in protecting nature to further disenfranchise the already marginalized.

Litigating the right to a sustainable climate system

By: Jacqueline Peel & Hari M. Osofsky
Español | Français

As the climate crisis deepens, can litigation advancing a human right to a stable and sustainable climate system make a difference?

Rights as a response to ecological apocalypse

By: David R. Boyd
Français | العربية | Español

Recognizing the human right to live in a healthy environment, and the rights of nature itself, are both essential to securing humanity and the planet’s future.

Human and non-human rights – convergence or conflict?

By: David Petrasek
Español | Français | العربية

On the 70th anniversary of the UDHR, claims to recognize non-human rights are advancing and pose challenges to the anthropocentrism at the heart of the human rights ...

The rights of nature gaining ground

By: Mari Margil
Español | Français

Nature has been treated in law as property, and exploited. But there is growing legal recognition that nature has rights, and affirming these is essential to both ...

Climate Land Banks: addressing displacement in Myanmar and beyond

By: Scott Leckie
မြန်မာဘာသာ

Countries exposed to the worst impacts of climate change, like Myanmar, should consider establishing Climate Land Banks to meet the looming problem of massive climate ...

Illegal logging fuels conflict and violence against women in South Sudan

By: Caroline Kiarie-Kimondo

Mismanagement of timber resources and illegal logging are exacerbating South Sudan’s conflict and destroying the environment, and women are the most severely affected.

New climate change lawsuit in Colombia part of growing, worldwide trend

By: Camila Bustos
Español

A new lawsuit in Colombia involving young plaintiffs seeks to protect their rights to life and health by preventing deforestation and holding the government accountable ...

Time to act – recognizing the right to a healthy environment

By: Marcos A. Orellana
Español | Français

Global recognition of the right to a healthy environment is long overdue. There are opportunities emerging to do so, and this would give crucial support to threatened ...

Why is the Inter-American Human Rights System lagging on climate change?

By: Juan Auz
Español

The Inter-American Human Rights System is an important tool for Latin American human rights defenders, but why are the Court and the Commission lagging behind on ...

How not to produce energy: lessons from Brazil’s Belo Monte dam

By: Astrid Puentes Riaño
Español | Português

Due to lack of community consultation and negative socio-environmental impacts, the Belo Monte dam in the Brazilian Amazon has become a prime example of how not ...

Climate change exacerbates gender inequality, putting women’s health at risk

By: Hwei Mian Lim
Español

Climate change takes a higher toll on women than on men. Women’s health and well-being, including their sexual and reproductive health and rights are all at stake.

Putting human rights at the centre of the renewable energy sector

By: Eniko Horvath & Christen Dobson
Español | 简体中文

In our efforts to quickly mitigate the negative impacts of climate change, advocates have a critical opportunity and responsibility to put human rights at the centre ...

Intergenerational commitments are critical to protecting future climate leaders

By: Leah Davidson
Español

Intergenerational commitments in climate change are critical to protect children’s rights now and to build the next generation of environmental defenders.

Climate change talks must focus on the most vulnerable: the world’s children

By: Alice Thomas
Español | Français

Across the globe, more extreme weather and climate change are displacing the most vulnerable, including children. Yet not enough is being done to uphold their human ...

Protecting environmental defenders should be a central issue at climate talks

By: Katharina Rall
Español | Français | العربية

As attacks on environmental rights defenders escalate, the stakes are high for the upcoming climate change talks in Germany.

Collaborating with scientists for climate justice

By: Ellen Platts & Claire Sabel

The impacts of climate change intensify existing social inequities by placing disproportionate burdens on vulnerable populations. Collaborations with scientists ...

Digging deeper: the impact of coal on human rights

By: Krizna Gomez & Gregory Tzeutschler Regaignon

With governments making commitments at the Paris Conference of Parties (COP21), global leaders must understand the impact and future of coal as a matter of human ...

Human rights mainstreaming in climate change policy: a glass half full

By: Marc Limon
Español | Français

The UN’s human rights bodies can’t solve the problem of climate change – but that doesn’t mean they have no role to play in pushing for more ambitious action to ...

Climate change poses an existential threat to human rights

By: Stephen Humphreys
Español | Français | العربية

It’s obvious climate change is a human rights issue. Less obvious is that saying so doesn’t necessarily help much, and indeed exposes the limitations of rights ...

Greening human rights

By: John Knox
Español | Français | العربية

The protection of human rights and a healthy environment are mutually reinforcing – a fact that is gaining increasing international legal recognition.

The struggle for nonhuman rights

By: Steven M. Wise
Español | Français

The Nonhuman Rights Project argues that certain animals should be legal persons. In the world of rights, what divides persons and things?

Corporate concern for human rights essential to tackle climate change

By: Asuncion Lera St. Clair

We have the means to create a green and equitable economy, but first corporations must embrace sustainable growth strategies that include a concern for human rights.

Human rights – help or hindrance to combatting climate change?

By: Usha Natarajan

Although the human rights framework brings out the inequities inherent in both the causes and impacts of global warming, it risks perpetuating a flawed development ...

 
 
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