Climate Change and Human Rights | Stephen Kiem SC

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Stephen Kiem SC
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27 February 2019
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Human Rights
by: Stephen Kiem SC

Climate Change and Human Rights: Notes for a Keynote Address to the Terry Hampson Inaugural Dinner 2019, held by the Australian Fabians at the 66 on Ernest on Wednesday, 20 February 2019

Climate Change and Human Rights: Notes for a Keynote Address to the Terry Hampson Inaugural Dinner 2019, held by the Australian Fabians at the 66 on Ernest on Wednesday, 20 February 2019

Terry Hampson: an enduring inspiration

I am thrilled and humbled to have been invited to speak to, tonight, as part of the Inaugural Terry Hampson Dinner.

For three and a half decades, Terry and I were members of (different) Labor Party branches on the north side of Brisbane. We were often part of the same federal electorate body and, less often, members of the same state electorate body. We would bump into each other at those meetings; at fundraisers; at state conferences; at the innumerable gatherings that you go to if you are a committed member of a political party.

Terry was a fixture at most of those events. He held office in all of those bodies. He was at every fundraiser. And he always contributed with ideas, with hard work and with friendship for all. In terms of his political values, Terry was always a progressive but, at the same time, he was always a calm and pragmatic person

Terry Hampson’s contribution to the left of centre politics in Queensland was influential and formative. Because of his humility and because of his understated demeanour, Terry Hampson’s influence has not been fully appreciated outside the circle of people who knew him very well. Many of that circle are here, tonight.

For that reason, as well, I am deeply honoured to be with you to honour his memory.

Introduction

It is apposite, therefore, that I talk about human rights and their relationship to climate change, the most urgent environmental challenge of our time.

I will talk about how international human rights law emerged after the Second World War. I will also say something about the emergence of international concern with environmental developments starting with the Stockholm Conference of 1972. I will talk only briefly about the dangers of climate change. I think most of us here, especially after the events of the last six months around the world, know that climate change is seriously impacting the lives of people around this world, at this very moment.

The particular thrust of what I have to say relates to the development over the last fifteen years or so of a recognition, at the international level, of the way in which international human rights principles are applicable to, and useful in dealing with, the impact of environmental devastation (including that caused by climate change). Those developments will, hopefully, lead to a binding International Covenant which spells out the obligations of nations to protect the environment; to preserve the rights of people to a healthy and sustainable environment; and to protect the human rights of environmental activists and defenders.   

 

The Origins of Human Rights Law

During the Second World War, the actions carried out by fascist regimes in Europe created a desire among certain people to put in place an international system to prevent such atrocities from reoccurring. The debate in the United Kingdom was kicked along by HG Wells’ publication in 1939 of a draft Declaration of the Rights of Man.[1] The draft, after contributions and comments by various colleagues of Wells including AA Milne, JB Priestley and Kingsley Martin, was published by Penguin as The Rights of Man or What are We Fighting For.[2] The book became a best seller and was translated into 30 languages.

The influence of the campaign in which HG Wells played a leading part led to President Roosevelt’s famous Four Freedoms Speech delivered on 6 January 1941 in which he spoke of “freedom of speech and expression … freedom of every person to worship God in his own way … freedom from want … and … freedom from fear”.[3] The speech remained influential in defining allied war aims and directing allied efforts to establish the United Nations at the close of the war.

The Charter of the United Nations, signed on 26 June 1945, while the war in the Pacific yet raged, made express reference to human rights in a number of places. The preamble included, in the purposes of the new organisation, the reaffirmation of “faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small”. Importantly, article 55 of the Charter imposed an obligation on the UN to promote “universal respect for, and observance of, human rights and fundamental freedoms for all, without distinction as to race, sex, language, or religion”.[4]

The pursuit of that obligation by the nations of the world has resulted in the negotiation and ratification of many treaties. The primary and masterful articulation of the multi-layered content of human rights was achieved in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (“the UDHR”) declared by the General Assembly on 10 December 1948.[5] The 30 short articles of the Declaration have, with the treaties to which they have given birth, provided “a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations” and those who adopted the Declaration have committed themselves to strive “by progressive measures … to achieve their universal and effective recognition and observance”.

The UDHR, however, does not mention the environment. This is noted and explained by John Knox, the Independent Expert on the issue of human rights obligations relating to the enjoyment of a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment in his Preliminary Report to the Human Rights Council (23rd Session). [6] Professor Knox points out that, in 1948, humans were just beginning to understand how much damage human activities could cause to the environment “and, as a result, to ourselves”.[7]

After the adoption of the UDHR, much effort was spent by nations and negotiators developing two great binding treaties. The first of these, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (“the ICCPR”)[8] was adopted and opened for signature on 16 December 1966 and came into force on 23 March 1976. The second, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Economic Rights (“the ICESCR”)[9] was also adopted and opened for signature on 16 December 1966. It came into force on 3 January 1976.

These two treaties took the principles of the UDHR and elaborated upon them in language appropriate to documents which were meant to give rise to binding international law obligations on those nations who signed and ratified them which have come to be most nations in the world.[10]

A further development of human rights law was to adapt the generally phrased rights in the UDHR, the ICCPR and ICESCR and adapt them to particular areas of human rights concern. Thus, slightly ahead of the two general treaties, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (“CERD”)[11] was adopted on 21 December 1965 and came into force on 4 January 1969. The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (“CEDAW”)[12] was adopted at New York on 18 December 1979. It came into force on 3 September 1981. And the last of these examples for present purposes is the Convention on the Rights of the Child (“CRC”).[13] The CRC emerged later in these processes. It was adopted on 20 November 1989 and came into force on 2 September 1990.

The Origins of International Environmental Protections and the Links to Human Rights

I want to turn now to a short history of the manner in which concern for the state of the world’s environment became a matter of concern at the international level. This history indicates that, from early on, there was some recognition that the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health enshrined in article 12 of the ICESCR resonated with the emerging concerns about the world’s environmental state of health.

Modern concerns with protection of the environment are generally traced to the early 1960s.[14] The pivotal and inspirational event is often identified as the 1962 publication of Rachel Carson‘s The Silent Spring.[15]

The values let loose in the 1960s led to concern for international action in the next decade. On 5 June 1972, in the capital of Sweden, Stockholm, the first United Nations Conference on the Human Environment commenced.[16] The first international conference produced the first international instrument to link human rights and the environment. The Final Declaration of the Stockholm Conference,[17] in its preamble, observed that “Both aspects of man's environment, the natural and the man-made, are essential to his well-being and to the enjoyment of basic human rights [including] the right to life itself.”[18]

And principle 1 is expressed in terms which not only link fundamental rights to a quality environment but include the right to a quality environment as integral to those other expressed rights: “Man has the fundamental right to freedom, equality and adequate conditions of life, in an environment of a quality that permits a life of dignity and well-being, and he bears a solemn responsibility to protect and improve the environment for present and future generations”.

The nations of the world came together again, twenty years after the Stockholm Conference, to discuss the environment and the place of humans in it. The Conference took place from 3-14 June 1992 at Rio de Janeiro and the result was another declaration, simply called the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development.[19]

The links between human rights and the environment were re-emphasised at the Rio Conference. Principle 1 of the Declaration states: “[Human beings] are entitled to a healthy and productive life in harmony with nature.” Principle 10 develops the idea of procedural human rights concerning the environment: “Environmental issues are best handled with participation of all concerned citizens, at the relevant level. At the national level, each individual shall have appropriate access to information concerning the environment that is held by public authorities, including information on hazardous materials and activities”.

Professor Dinah Shelton, the Manatt/Ahn professor of law at George Washington University, has examined the developing links between environmental concerns and human rights principles. In a 2009 paper, she suggests that three broad approaches can be discerned. The first, exemplified by the Stockholm Declaration, a “classically human rights approach” describes protecting a quality environment as a precondition to enjoyment of human rights, especially, the rights to life and health. The second, in respect of which the Rio Declaration is prominent, conceives of the link between human rights and environmental protection as concerning the provision of procedural rights to members of the public. And the third approach is described by Professor Shelton as integrative in that human rights and environmental protection are seen as indivisible and inseparable with the result that a right to an environment of a particular quality is seen as an independent substantive right.[20]

Unfortunately, as Professor Shelton points out, protection of this substantive right to a healthy environment is found mainly in national constitutions and regional human rights and environmental treaties[21] and not in international law. While this clouds the way ahead for effective action at an international level to prevent or mitigate climate change, I will return to consider the extent to which those processes which produced CERD, CDAW and the CRC have advanced in the field of climate change in particular.

The Threat of Climate Change

The message that climate change is a major threat to our planet has been available for a long time. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (“the IPCC”) was established by the World Meteorological Organisation in 1988. The First of the Assessment Reports which we have become accustomed to reading about was delivered in 1990. There have now been five assessment reports. The Fifth was delivered in 2014. A Special Report on why it is important to keep increases to 1.50 centigrade was published in October, last year.

Each report has provided predictions of the looming impacts of climate change. The certainty associated with those predictions has increased and likely negative impacts of climate change grown rather than diminished. We looked at scenarios at the turn of the century and ignored the unlikely scenario that was described as business as usual. Of course, the governments and peoples of the world would not dither as disasters loomed even closer. But the later reports have shown that that is exactly what we have done. Governments have been elected, here and elsewhere, that have done their best to prevent any effective steps to mitigate increases in greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere. Other politicians have decided not to say anything because climate change was not perceived as a winning issue or it was just too hard to get things done.

On 8 February 2019, Chief Justice Preston of the Land and Environment Court of New South Wales handed down a decision, refusing approval for a coalmine, in Gloucester Resources Limited v Minister for Planning. [22] The likely contribution of the mine and the use of its products to climate change was one of the reasons relied upon by the court for its refusal to approve the mine.

The reasons of Chief Justice Preston, conveniently, reproduced some of the evidence of Professor Will Steffen of the ANU on the subject of climate change.

Quoting the IPCC, Professor Steffen said that the impacts of climate change which are already being experienced include:

Warmer and/or fewer cold days and nights over most land areas;

Warmer and/or more frequent hot days and nights over most land areas;

Increases in the frequency and/or duration of heat waves in many regions;

Increases in intensity and/or duration of drought in many regions since 1970;

Increases in intense tropical cyclone activity in the North Atlantic since 1970; and

Increased incidence and/or magnitude of extreme high sea levels.[23]    

 

Professor Steffen cited reports by the Bureau of Meteorology and the CSIRO to identify evidence that climate change is worsening extreme weather in Australia:

All extreme weather events are now occurring in an atmosphere that is warmer and wetter than it was 70 years ago;

Long-term data records show observed changes in the nature of extreme weather; and

Climate models run with and without the additional greenhouse gases in the atmosphere from human emissions show the increase in likelihood that a specific extreme weather event would have occurred because of climate change.

Professor Steffen listed the impacts being experienced in Australia as including:

Australia’s average surface temperature has increased by 0.9ºC from 1910 to 2014 (and now to over 1.0ºC);

Many heat-related records were broken in the summer of 2012-2013, and again in the two most recent summers. 2013 was Australia’s hottest year on record;

Heat waves have increased in duration, frequency and intensity in many parts of the country;

Cool-season rainfall has declined in southeast and southwest Australia and wet-season rainfall has increased in northern Australia;

Heavy daily rainfall has accounted for an increased proportion of total annual rainfall over an increasing fraction of the Australian continent since the 1970s;

Extreme fire weather days have increased at 24 out of 38 monitoring sites from 1973- 2010 due to warmer and drier conditions; and

For 1966-2009 the average rate of relative sea-level rise along the Australian coast was approximately 1.4 millimetres per year.[24]

On the subject of future changes from climate change, Professor Steffen stated that “Future climate change will be driven in the near-term (several decades into the future) by the further amount of greenhouse gas emissions emitted by human activities, and in the longer term by both human emissions and feedbacks in the climate system (e.g., melting of permafrost, collapse of the Amazon rainforest) that could emit significant additional amounts of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere.”[25]

 

Again citing the BOM and CSIRO, Professor Steffen said that future impacts of climate change on Australia would include:

 

Temperatures will continue to increase, with more hot days and fewer cool days;

Oceans around Australia will warm further and acidification will continue;

Tropical cyclones are projected to decrease in number but increase in intensity;

Extreme rainfall events are likely to be more intense;

Harsher fire weather is projected for southern and eastern Australia; and

Further decreases in winter rainfall for southern continental Australia, with an increase in droughts.[26]

 

Earlier, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (“UNHCHR”), in a 2009 report, drew attention to the following predicted impacts in the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report on weather patterns: contraction of snow covered areas and of areas of sea ice; sea level rise and higher water temperatures; increased frequency of hot extremes; heavy precipitation events but with increases in areas affected by drought; and increased intensity of tropical cyclones, typhoons and hurricanes.[27]

 

The UNHCHR also drew attention to the disproportionate impact of climate change upon poorer regions and countries.[28] This unequal burden is the subject of express provision in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (“UNFCC”) where article 3 notes that countries should respond to the need to protect the climate “on the basis of equity” and that certain developing countries are “particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change”.[29]

 

Professor Shelton, in her 2009 paper, noted likely decreases in agricultural production in Africa due to water shortages; up to one billion people facing water shortages in Asia by the 2050s; and likely resultant population displacement within and across national borders.[30]

 

Climate change, through sea level rise, threatens the habitability and territorial existence of a number of low-lying island states.[31]

Developments: Bringing Climate Change into Human Rights Thinking

In December 2005, a case was launched by a group of Inuit living in the Arctic in the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (“the IACHR”) claiming that their human rights were violated by the United States’ failure to reduce its emissions of greenhouse gases.[32] The relief sought included a request that the IACHR prepare a report “declaring that the United States is internationally responsible for violations of rights affirmed in the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man[33] and in other instruments of international law and recommending that the United States … adopt mandatory measures to limit its emissions of greenhouse gases and cooperate in efforts of the community of nations …”[34]

 

In a letter dated 16 November 2006, the IACHR advised the petitioner’s lawyer that it would “not be possible to process your petition at the moment” because the information provided in the petition “does not allow us to determine whether the alleged facts would tend to characterise a violation of rights protected by the American Declaration”.[35]

 

A different approach was taken during 2007 by the Republic of the Maldives.[36] In November 2007, the Maldives convened a meeting of the Association of Small Island States (“AOSIS”)[37] which decided to request the UNHCHR to conduct a study of the relationship between climate change and human rights.[38] The advocacy resulted, on 28 March 2008, in resolution 7/23 of the Human Rights Council (“the HRC”) which requested the UNHCHR to “conduct … an analytical study of the relationship between climate change and human rights”. The resolution also encouraged States to “contribute to the study”.[39]

 

The report of the UNHCHR is dated 15 January 2009.[40] It documents likely impacts of climate change on the human rights to life, adequate food, water, health, adequate housing, and self-determination.[41] The report also documents the particular vulnerability of, and the resultant more acute impacts upon, specific groups identified as women, children and indigenous peoples.[42] Two effects identified as impacting upon the human rights of people affected are displacement of people from their normal places of residence and work and the creation of conflict and security risks.[43]

 

Despite finding serious and significant implications of climate change for the human rights of individuals and groups, the report declines to find whether those impacts can be characterised as “human rights violations in a strict legal sense”. The report points to obstacles to such a conclusion in the form of difficulties in sorting out and attributing causation in respect of particular impacts.[44]

 

The report does, however, identify multiple obligations to respond to climate change in respect of which failure would amount to violations of human rights. These include a failure to protect against foreseeable risks.[45] The report also identifies the need to continue to comply with obligations under the ICESCR[46] in circumstances where climate change has diminished available resources including the need to comply with the non-discrimination principle of human rights law and the need to make efficient use of available resources to ensure that nobody’s access to resources falls below a minimum level consistent with compliance with the particular human right.[47]

 

The report also identifies a need both under the UNFCCC and under human rights law, akin to Professor Shelton’s second human rights approach,[48] to ensure access to procedural rights including rights to information and participation in decision making about the environment.[49]

 

The report also identifies a number of bases in human rights law to posit an obligation on nation states to cooperate with others to address effectively the problems arising from climate change.[50] Last, the report identifies the principles of intergenerational equity and the precautionary principle as arising from the UNFCCC but also being recognised by human rights treaty bodies as being relevant to and reflected in the human rights principles of equality and non-discrimination.[51]

 

In one of the later paragraphs of the report, the UNHCHR identifies one of the great contributions that human rights law can make to the responses to climate change. Climate change threatens to beget crisis and emergency. As the report notes, human rights values can “usefully inform debates on equity and fair distribution of … burdens” and can “focus attention on how a given distribution of burden affects the enjoyment of human rights”. The phrase of the preamble to the UDHR still rings true: “a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations”.

 

Recent Developments: Knox’s Assessment

Professor Knox’s discussion and analysis of the UNHCHR supports the report’s conclusion that, although climate change, itself, may not be a breach of human rights, nation states have duties to protect against the impacts of climate change.[52] Professor Knox also identifies the report’s conclusions that states have extra-territorial duties to respond to climate change as likely to be controversial both legally and political.[53] He points out that few states had, in their submissions, addressed the issue of extra-territorial obligations apart from the Maldives which had urged such a finding based on the right to self-determination;[54] the text of the ICESCR; and the ICCPR.[55] The ICCPR is thought generally to be restrictive, in respect of extra-territorial application of its obligations which, according to the text, apply only to “to all individuals within its territory and subject to its jurisdiction”.[56] The Maldives argued, however, that the drastic nature of climate change meant that the individuals living in small island states affected by climate change were under the “effective control” of those states who were responsible for causing the harm.[57]

 

In particular, Professor Knox fastened on to the report’s finding of a human rights obligation on nations to cooperate to preserve human rights from the effects of climate change. Professor Knox saw this finding as providing “a basis for applying the human rights environmental jurisprudence to climate change”.[58]

 

Recent Developments: The Response of the HRC

The UNHCHR report was received by the HRC on 15 January 2009.

 

Three years later, on 15 March 2012, the HRC decided to appoint an independent expert on “the issue of human rights obligations relating to the enjoyment of a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment”.[59] The study was to be conducted in cooperation with government, private and international institutions. The study was to address the “human rights obligations, including to ensure the enjoyment of a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment”[60] and to advise concerning “best practices relating to the use of human rights obligations and commitments to inform, support and strengthen environmental policymaking”.[61]

 

In July, 2012, perhaps, not surprisingly in the light of his work in the area, Professor Knox was appointed to a three year term as the independent expert.[62]

 

The Preliminary Report of the Independent Expert to the HRC

On Christmas Eve, 2012, Professor Knox presented the first of his reports as Independent Expert on the issue of human rights obligations relating to the enjoyment of a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment.[63] In this “preliminary report”, the independent expert examined various ways in which existing human rights, such as the right to life, the right to health and the right to privacy, had been found to be violated by serious damage to the environment.[64] The preliminary report also noted the benefit of a human rights based approach in ensuring better policy making in the environmental field[65] with one result being the development of procedural rights (rights to information and to participate in decisions) developing both alongside and apart from substantive rights.[66]

 

The independent expert stressed the need for conceptual clarity to be developed about the way in which human rights and environmental rights support and overlap one another.[67] The report pointed to, as a subject for future examination, the potential human rights of future generations (inter-generational equity) and the application of human rights obligations to particularly pressing problems, including climate change.[68] The report discussed but took little further[69] the issue of obligations of states in respect of trans-boundary impacts of damage to the environment.[70]

 

The report identified many issues concerning human rights obligations relating to a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment but it remained, very much, a preliminary report.

And on to the Sustainable Principles

Professor Knox served from 2012 – 2015 as Independent Expert on Human Rights and the Environment. His mandate was extended, this time as Special Rapporteur to the HRC, and he served in that role from 2015-2018.[71]

 

The mandate has resulted in continuing study, has produced numerous reports, has been assisted by country visits by the Rapporteur and has extended the scholarship in the area.

 

In a report to the General Assembly on 24 January 2018,[72] Professor Knox presented his framework principles on human rights and the environment. The 16 principles set out basic obligations of States under human rights law as they relate to the enjoyment of a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment.[73] Each principle is accompanied by a commentary that clarifies and elaborates upon the principle, itself.[74] Professor Knox points out that the document does not create new obligations but the principles and commentary reflect existing obligations in the environmental context.[75] In this respect, they are not that different from the content of the CEDAW or CRC which utilise the principles in the UDHR and the ICCPR and ICESCR and apply them to the particular context of women’s rights and children’s rights.

 

In that part of the commentary which provides a brief preamble to the principles, the following is said: ‘Human beings are part of nature and our human rights are intertwined with the environment in which we live. Environmental harm interferes with the enjoyment of human rights and the exercise of human rights helps to protect the environment and to promote sustainable development.”[76]

 

The first framework principle reads as follows: “States should ensure a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment in which to respect, protect and fulfil human rights”.[77] The second principle reads as follows: “States should respect, protect and fulfil human rights in order to ensure a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment.”

 

That should give you an idea of the way in which the principles pursue the theme that human rights and protecting the environment are intertwined. The later principles go on, inter alia, to reference the prohibition of discrimination and the importance of equal protection of the law;[78] protection for human rights and environmental activists;[79] the importance of freedom of speech and freedom of association for protecting the environment;[80] the role of the state in providing education and creating public awareness on environmental matters;[81] the importance of providing legal remedies for violation of human rights and the environment;[82] and the relationship between protecting the rights of Indigenous peoples to lands and resources and the protection of the environment.[83] The final principle is important to the drastic steps that may need to be taken to correct climate change. It provides that, in meeting environmental challenges, states must respect, protect and fulfil human rights of the people affected by those actions.[84]

 

In the last paragraph of his 2018 report, Professor Knox quotes Victor Hugo saying that it is impossible to resist an idea whose time has come. And he says that the interdependence of human rights and the need for a clean and healthy environment is an idea which is here. And he refers to the many people he has come into contact with as part of his role who are striving for a world in which everyone can enjoy the human rights that depend on a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment.[85] Hopefully, we are part of that group of people in the world.

The Importance of a Convention    

The beautifully written words of the UDHR refer to that document as a common standard of achievement for all people and all nations.[86]

 

We are painfully aware that having numerous human rights documents has not stemmed the flow of atrocities and other human rights breaches through time and across the world.

 

They do, however, work as standards. Whatever governments or other powerful agencies do, they are susceptible to be called to account and judged according to the values enshrined in the UDHR and other human rights instruments. The specific covenants and declarations are of particular assistance. Our failures with the treatment of children in our institutions and our society are laid bare by the words of the CRC. Our physical and social structures, so far as they impact upon people with disabilities, are accountable to the words and values of the Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities (“CRPD”).[87]

 

When we are passing good laws and making good policy, we measure those laws against the conventions on a daily basis. When we are evading our responsibilities, we try to weasel our way around the international conventions and wish that they did not exist.

 

The development of the 2018 Framework Principles on Human Rights and the Environment have us on the brink of being able to adopt an enforceable international convention on the same subject. The world’s nations should push on hard for this idea whose time is indeed here. More than ever, we need a set of standards by which we can judge ourselves. Onwards and upwards.

Conclusion

I will conclude by sharing someone else’s thoughts about Terry Hampson.

 

I asked my wife, Denise, who was an active member of the Labor Party for as long as I was.

 

I asked Denise for some words to describe Terry as she remembered him. She came up with: steadfast, loyal, measured, reasoned and principled. We joked that that there was never any risk that Terry, shortly after ceasing to hold a public office on behalf of the Labor Party, would turn up as the public relations spokesperson for Australia’s bankers.

 

There are some people who, when they leave us, we can feel proud to have known them in some way during their lives. Terry Hampson is one of those people.

Stephen Keim

Chambers

16 February 2019

 

[1] A copy may be found at http://www.voting.ukscientists.com/sankey.html (accessed 21 August 2013)

[2] An excellent discussion of Wells’ work on and philosophy of human rights may be found in John Partington,  Human Rights and Public Accountability in HG Wells’ Functional World State, at http://www.academia.edu/400254/Human_Rights_and_Public_Accountability_in_H._G._Wells_Functional_World_State (accessed, 21 August 2013)

[3] The full text of the speech may be accessed at http://www.fdrlibrary.marist.edu/pdfs/fftext.pdf (Accessed 21 August 2013) and a recording of the relevant extract of the speech is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5iHKtrirjlY (accessed 21 August 2013). See also James Kimble, Seton Hall University, Franklin D. Roosevelt, 1941 State of the Union Address ("The Four Freedoms") (6 January 1941), at http://archive.vod.umd.edu/citizen/fdr1941int.htm (accessed 21 August 2013)

[4] A copy of the Charter is at http://www.un.org/en/documents/charter/intro.shtml (accessed 21 August 2013)

[5] The text is available at http://www.un.org/en/documents/udhr/index.shtml (accessed 22 August 2013)

[6] See https://www.ohchr.org/Documents/HRBodies/HRCouncil/RegularSession/Session22/A-HRC-22-43_en.pdf (accessed 15 February 2019). The Independent expert points out that, in 1948, humans were just beginning to understand how damage human activities could cause to the environment “and, as a result, to ourselves”, paragraph 7 

[7] Ibid, page 4, paragraph 7

[8] The text is available at https://www.ohchr.org/EN/ProfessionalInterest/Pages/CCPR.aspx (accessed 15 February 2019)

[9] See https://www.ohchr.org/en/professionalinterest/pages/cescr.aspx (accessed on 15 February 2019)

[10] 172 nations in the case of the ICCPR and 169 nations for the ICESCR

[11] https://ohchr.org/EN/ProfessionalInterest/Pages/CERD.aspx (accessed 15 February 2019)

[12] https://www.ohchr.org/EN/ProfessionalInterest/Pages/CEDAW.aspx (accessed 15 February 2019)

[13] https://www.ohchr.org/en/professionalinterest/pages/crc.aspx (accessed 15 February 2019)

[14] Knox, http://daccess-dds-ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/G12/189/72/PDF/G1218972.pdf?OpenElement (accessed 22 August 2013), page 4, paragraph 8: “From the 1960s to the present, the modern environmental movement has transformed our relationship with the environment”.

[15] Reflections on Carson’s legacy, 50 years after the publication of Silent Spring are contained in Culver, Mauch and Ritson, editors, Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring: Encounters and Legacies, in Rachel Carson Centre Perspectives, 2012, no. 7 at http://www.carsoncenter.uni-muenchen.de/download/publications/perspectives/2012_perspectives/1207_silentspring_web_color.pdf (accessed 22 August 2012). Interestingly, for this essay, Jenny Price, in the opening chapter of the collection, identifies that a negative aspect of Carson’s heritage is the tendency of the environmental movement to emphasise concern for scenic environments over environmental justice, especially, as environmental damage affects the poor and disadvantaged.  

[16] Richard Black, Stockholm: Birth of a Green Generation, BBC News, 4 June 2012, at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-18315205 (accessed on 22 August 2012)

[17] Declaration of the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment at http://www.unep.org/Documents.Multilingual/Default.asp?DocumentID=97&ArticleID=1503&l=en (accessed 22 August 2013)

[18] Ibid, preamble, paragraph 1.

[19] http://www.unep.org/Documents.Multilingual/Default.asp?documentid=78&articleid=1163 (accessed on 22 August 2013)

[20] Shelton , Dinah, Human Rights and Climate Change, Buffett Centre, Northwestern University, December 2009, available at http://www.cics.northwestern.edu/documents/workingpapers/Buffett_09-002_Shelton.pdf (accessed 22 August 2013), page 12

[21] Ibid

[22] [2019] NSWLEC 7: the full report may be found at https://www.caselaw.nsw.gov.au/decision/5c59012ce4b02a5a800be47f (accessed 17 February 2019)

[23] [2019] NSWLEC 7, [436]

[24] [2019] NSWLEC 7, [436]

[25] [2019] NSWLEC 7, [438]

[26] [2019] NSWLEC 7, [438]

[27] Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on the relationship between climate change and human rights, 15 January 2009, A/HRC/10/61, paragraph 8, available at http://daccess-dds-ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/G09/103/44/PDF/G0910344.pdf?OpenElement (accessed on 23 August 2013)

[28] Ibid, paragraph 10

[29] These passages from the UNFCCC are noted, ibid, paragraph 11. The text of the UNFCCC is at http://unfccc.int/resource/docs/convkp/conveng.pdf (accessed 23 August 2013)

[30] Shelton , Dinah, Human Rights and Climate Change, Buffett Centre, Northwestern University, December 2009, available at http://www.cics.northwestern.edu/documents/workingpapers/Buffett_09-002_Shelton.pdf (accessed 22 August 2013), page, page 7

[31] Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on the relationship between climate change and human rights, 15 January 2009, A/HRC/10/61, available at http://daccess-dds-ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/G09/103/44/PDF/G0910344.pdf?OpenElement (accessed on 23 August 2013), paragraph 40

[32] The petition is at http://www.inuitcircumpolar.com/files/uploads/icc-files/FINALPetitionICC.pdf (accessed 23 August 2013)

[33] http://www.oas.org/dil/1948%20American%20Declaration%20of%20the%20Rights%20and%20Duties%20of%20Man.pdf (accessed 23 August 2013)

[34] Ibid, page7

[35] http://graphics8.nytimes.com/packages/pdf/science/16commissionletter.pdf (accessed 23 August 2013)

[36] The history of events in this section has drawn extensively on the work of John H Knox, Henry C Lauerman Professor at Wake Forest University (http://law.wfu.edu/faculty/profile/knoxjh/: accessed 23 August 2013) who has been both an active player and chronicler of those events. 

[37] http://aosis.org/about-aosis/ (accessed 23 August 2013)

[38] John H Knox, Linking Human Rights and Climate Change at the United Nations, Harvard Environmental Law Review, 2009, vol. 33, page 477, 477. The article is available at https://wakespace.lib.wfu.edu/handle/10339/26076 (accessed 15 February 2019)

[39] http://www2.ohchr.org/english/issues/climatechange/docs/Resolution_7_23.pdf (accessed 23 August 2013)

[40] Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on the relationship between climate change and human rights, 15 January 2009, A/HRC/10/61, available at https://documents-dds-ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/G09/103/44/PDF/G0910344.pdf?OpenElement (accessed on 15 February 2019)

[41] Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on the relationship between climate change and human rights, 15 January 2009, A/HRC/10/61, available at https://documents-dds-ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/G09/103/44/PDF/G0910344.pdf?OpenElement  (accessed on 15 February 2019), pages 8 - 14

[42] Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on the relationship between climate change and human rights, 15 January 2009, A/HRC/10/61, available at Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on the relationship between climate change and human rights, 15 January 2009, A/HRC/10/61, available at https://documents-dds-ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/G09/103/44/PDF/G0910344.pdf?OpenElement  (accessed on 15 February 2019),  pages 15 - 18

[43] Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on the relationship between climate change and human rights, 15 January 2009, A/HRC/10/61, available at https://documents-dds-ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/G09/103/44/PDF/G0910344.pdf?OpenElement (accessed on 15 February 2019), pages 18 - 22

[44] Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on the relationship between climate change and human rights, 15 January 2009, A/HRC/10/61, available at https://documents-dds-ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/G09/103/44/PDF/G0910344.pdf?OpenElement (accessed on 15 February 2019), page 23, (paragraph 70)

[45] Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on the relationship between climate change and human rights, 15 January 2009, A/HRC/10/61, available at https://documents-dds-ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/G09/103/44/PDF/G0910344.pdf?OpenElement  (accessed on 15 February 2019), page 24, (paragraphs 72-74)

[46] http://www.un-documents.net/icescr.htm (accessed 23 August 2013)

[47] Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on the relationship between climate change and human rights, 15 January 2009, A/HRC/10/61, available at http://daccess-dds-ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/G09/103/44/PDF/G0910344.pdf?OpenElement (accessed on 23 August 2013), page 25, (paragraphs 75-77)

[48] Shelton , Dinah, Human Rights and Climate Change, Buffett Centre, Northwestern University, December 2009, available at http://www.cics.northwestern.edu/documents/workingpapers/Buffett_09-002_Shelton.pdf (accessed 22 August 2013), page 13

[49] Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on the relationship between climate change and human rights, 15 January 2009, A/HRC/10/61, available at https://documents-dds-ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/G09/103/44/PDF/G0910344.pdf?OpenElement  (accessed on 15 February 2019), pages 25 - 26, (paragraphs 78-79)

[50] Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on the relationship between climate change and human rights, 15 January 2009, A/HRC/10/61, available at https://documents-dds-ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/G09/103/44/PDF/G0910344.pdf?OpenElement  (accessed on 15 February 2019), pages 27 - 28, (paragraphs 84 - 85)

[51] Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on the relationship between climate change and human rights, 15 January 2009, A/HRC/10/61, available at https://documents-dds-ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/G09/103/44/PDF/G0910344.pdf?OpenElement  (accessed on 15 February 2019), page 29, (paragraphs 89 - 91)

[52] John H Knox, Linking Human Rights and Climate Change at the United Nations, Harvard Environmental Law Review, 2009, vol. 33, page 493. The article is available at https://wakespace.lib.wfu.edu/handle/10339/26076 (accessed 15 February 2019), page 491

[53] John H Knox, Linking Human Rights and Climate Change at the United Nations, Harvard Environmental Law Review, 2009, vol. 33, page 493. The article is available at https://wakespace.lib.wfu.edu/handle/10339/26076 (accessed 15 February 2019)

[54] See article 1 of the ICCPR

[55] Text is at http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/other/dfat/treaties/1980/23.html (accessed 26 August 2013)

[56] Article 2, ICCPR

[57] John H Knox, Linking Human Rights and Climate Change at the United Nations, Harvard Environmental Law Review, 2009, vol. 33, page 494. The article is available at https://wakespace.lib.wfu.edu/handle/10339/26076 (accessed 15 February 2019)

[58] John H Knox, Linking Human Rights and Climate Change at the United Nations, Harvard Environmental Law Review, 2009, vol. 33, page 495. The article is available at https://wakespace.lib.wfu.edu/handle/10339/26076 (accessed 15 February 2019)

[59] http://www.un.org/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=A/HRC/19/L.8&referer=/english/&Lang=E (accessed15 February 2019)

[60] Ibid, paragraph 2 (a)

[61] Ibid, paragraph 2 (b)

[62] http://news.law.wfu.edu/2012/07/newly-created-position-important-to-fundamental-human-rights/ (accessed 215 February 2019)

[63] https://www.ohchr.org/Documents/HRBodies/HRCouncil/RegularSession/Session22/A-HRC-22-43_en.pdf 

[64] https://www.ohchr.org/Documents/HRBodies/HRCouncil/RegularSession/Session22/A-HRC-22-43_en.pdf,  pages 7-9, paragraphs 18-24

[65] https://www.ohchr.org/Documents/HRBodies/HRCouncil/RegularSession/Session22/A-HRC-22-43_en.pdf,  pages 9-12, paragraphs 25-33

[66] https://www.ohchr.org/Documents/HRBodies/HRCouncil/RegularSession/Session22/A-HRC-22-43_en.pdf,  pages 13-14, paragraphs 40-43

[67] https://www.ohchr.org/Documents/HRBodies/HRCouncil/RegularSession/Session22/A-HRC-22-43_en.pdf,  page 17, paragraph 54

[68] https://www.ohchr.org/Documents/HRBodies/HRCouncil/RegularSession/Session22/A-HRC-22-43_en.pdf,  page 17, paragraph 53

[69] Than did the report of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on the relationship between climate change and human rights, 15 January 2009, A/HRC/10/61, available at https://documents-dds-ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/G09/103/44/PDF/G0910344.pdf?OpenElement  (accessed on 15 February 2019)

[70] https://www.ohchr.org/Documents/HRBodies/HRCouncil/RegularSession/Session22/A-HRC-22-43_en.pdf, page 16, paragraphs 47-48

[71] See https://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Environment/SREnvironment/Pages/SRenvironmentIndex.aspx (accessed 15 February 2019)

[72] At https://documents-dds-ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/G18/017/42/PDF/G1801742.pdf?OpenElement (accessed 15 February 2019)

[73] At https://documents-dds-ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/G18/017/42/PDF/G1801742.pdf?OpenElement (accessed 15 February 2019), paragraph 8

[74] At https://documents-dds-ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/G18/017/42/PDF/G1801742.pdf?OpenElement (accessed 15 February 2019), paragraph 8

[75] At https://documents-dds-ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/G18/017/42/PDF/G1801742.pdf?OpenElement (accessed 15 February 2019), paragraph 8

[76] At https://documents-dds-ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/G18/017/42/PDF/G1801742.pdf?OpenElement (accessed 15 February 2019), page 7, annex

[77] At https://documents-dds-ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/G18/017/42/PDF/G1801742.pdf?OpenElement (accessed 15 February 2019), page 7, annex

[78] Principle 3

[79] Principle 4

[80] Principle 5        

[81] Principle 6

[82] Principle 10

[83] Principle 15

[84] Principle 16

[85] At https://documents-dds-ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/G18/017/42/PDF/G1801742.pdf?OpenElement (accessed 15 February 2019), paragraph 20 on page 6

[86] https://www.un.org/en/universal-declaration-human-rights/index.html

[87] https://www.un.org/development/desa/disabilities/convention-on-the-rights-of-persons-with-disabilities.html

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