Climate Change Litigation and Human Rights: Pushing the Boundaries

In: Climate Law
Annalisa Savaresi Lecturer in Environmental Law, University of Stirling,

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Juan Auz Alexander von Humboldt Fellow, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research,

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The adoption of the Paris Agreement has prompted a flurry of climate change litigation, both to redress the impacts of climate change and to put pressure on state and non-state actors to adopt more ambitious action to tackle climate change. The use of human rights law as a gap-filler to provide remedies where other areas of the law do not is not new, especially in the environmental context. It is therefore not a surprise that human rights arguments are increasingly being made, and human rights remedies increasingly being sought, in climate change litigation. While relatively few cases have been argued on human rights grounds so far, the trend is continuing and accelerating, with some striking results. This article takes stock of human rights arguments made in climate change litigation to date to gauge what they reveal about the evolving relationship between human rights and climate change law—and about possible future developments.

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