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John H Knox

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John H Knox

Compared to other ethical approaches to climate change, a human rights approach has several advantages: it draws on a widely accepted, coherent and well-developed set of legal norms, it places the human beings most affected by climate change at the centre of its analysis, and it has strong connections to mechanisms of implementation and enforcement. Human rights already provide a sturdy framework for addressing climate change at the micro level of specific projects and national adaptation policies, but face greater challenges at the macro level of global mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions. Nevertheless, human rights law contains elements that should allow it to address climate change as a global challenge to human rights.

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John H Knox

Abstract This chapter describes the United Nations mandate on human rights and the environment. The mandate began in 2012, when the United Nations Human Rights Council appointed an independent expert to study the relationship of human rights and the environment. In 2015, the Council renewed the mandate for another three years, broadened its scope, and changed the title of the mandate-holder to special rapporteur. In 2018, the special rapporteur presented the Framework Principles on Human Rights and the Environment, which set out the basic human rights obligations relating to the enjoyment of a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment. He also called on the United Nations to recognize the human right to a healthy environment.