AS THE CLIMATE CHANGES SO MUST THE LAW
Written on the 9 October 2014 by Paris Faint
A recent ground-breaking international report has found the human rights of millions may be critically threatened unless world governments improve legal frameworks for people and nations affected by climate change.
The International Bar Association (IBA) Task Force on Climate Change Justice and Human Rights have compiled the report entitled ‘Achieving Justice and Human Rights in an Era of Climate Disruption’ detailing specific issues with legal environmental frameworks.
One of the major study’s key findings is that climate change excessively strikes those individuals and countries who contribute least to the problem, and who lack the resources to mitigate that which is caused by others.
In an effort to lessen this vulnerability, the report lists more than fifty key recommendations for the achievement of total climate change justice.
Recommendations include legal recognition for a new universal environmental human right, creation of a new specialist International Court on the Environment and increasing corporate responsibility with regard to recognizing and dealing with the rights aspect of the global issue.
IBA President Michael Reynolds says the effects of climate change upon the rights of the individual have not been properly addressed, a problem which the Task Force has purported to change.
“Existing legal mechanisms addressing mitigation, adaptation and remediation of climate change are failing to cope with the scale of the global issue and its wide-ranging impact on individuals, leaving climate change justice issues unaddressed,” says Reynolds.
The report will assist world leaders, policy makers, lawyers, corporations and individuals in bridging the gap between global understanding and action.
“The Task force points the way forward in translating climate change into effective legal justice with a series of proposals that are guided in scientific consensus, in the reality of international climate policy and in the urgency of real life impacts on individuals and communities,” says Reynolds.
UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Climate Change Mary Robinson says the Task Force has thoroughly described the exact problems faced and has provided an excellent contribution to the understanding of climate justice.
“Through this report the legal community embraces climate justice, elucidates the links between climate change and human rights and makes clear recommendations on ways to secure justice for those affected by climate impacts,” says Robinson.
Recommendations released are the result of surveys undertaken by the Task Force team comprised of more than twenty international experts, including Australian legal professionals The Honourable Justice Brian Preston SC, and Professor Jane McAdam of the University of New South Wales.
The full report and list of recommendations can be found on the IBA web page.
Author: Paris Faint