Human rights and the impacts of climate change: Revisiting the assumptions


Savaresi A (2021) Human rights and the impacts of climate change: Revisiting the assumptions. Oñati Socio-Legal Series, 11 (1), pp. 231-253.

The Paris Agreement acknowledges the need to tackle the permanent and irreversible impacts of climate change. It does not, however, provide means to hold state and non-state actors accountable for the harm to persons, property and the environment associated with climate change. In 2009 , the Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights (OHCHR) noted that qualifying the effects of climate change as human rights violations posed a series of technical obstacles. More than a decade later, applicants around the world increasingly rely on human rights law and institutions to complain about harms associated with the impacts of climate change. National, regional and international human rights bodies stand on the frontline to bridge the accountability gap left by the Paris Agreement. This article therefore revisits the OHCHR’s assumptions, suggesting that we use human rights as an interim “gap-filler”, while we seek better tools to tackle the impacts of climate change.

Human rights; climate litigation; state actors; non-state actors; loss and damage

Oñati Socio-Legal Series: Volume 11, Issue 1

Publication date31/12/2021
Publication date online30/11/2020
Date accepted by journal20/07/2020