Legal and Policy Challenges for the World Economy
New Horizons in Environmental and Energy Law series
Edited by Benjamin J. Richardson, Yves Le Bouthillier, Heather McLeod-Kilmurray and Stepan Wood
Chapter 2: Climate Change, Differentiated Responsibilities and State Responsibility: Devising Novel Legal Strategies for Damage Caused by Climate Change
Sumudu Atapattu* Climate change is the defining human development issue of our generation. All development is ultimately about expanding human potential and enlarging human freedom . . . Climate change threatens to erode human freedoms and limit choice. It calls into question the Enlightenment principle that human progress will make the future look better than the past. Human Development Report 2007/2008, UNDP, Overview 1. INTRODUCTION While global climate change originated as an environmental problem, it now impinges on every aspect of human life with implications for international economy, public health, social issues such as migration and loss of livelihood, and, ultimately, threatening international peace and security (United Nations Department of Public Information, 2007). Climate change is considered a problem created mainly by ‘rich countries’, but the burden will be disproportionately borne by ‘poor countries’ – however, the issues are not this simple. For example, deforestation in developing countries, particularly Indonesia and Brazil, is considered a major contributor to greenhouse gases (GHG) (Moutinho and Schwartzman, 2005), while rapidly industrializing countries such as India and China are becoming major contributors themselves. Conversely, some poor communities in developed countries are beginning to be disproportionately affected by the impacts of climate change. Indigenous peoples in North America are one example. International environmental law and the legal regime governing climate 37 38 Climate law and developing countries change (UN Framework Convention on Climate Change1 (UNFCCC) and the Kyoto Protocol2) have sought to take the vast disparity between developing countries and developed countries into account, as well as their historic...
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