Advancing Climate Justice and the Right to Health Through Procedural Rights
Scholars have increasingly recognized the ways in which climate change threatens the human rights of people around the world, with a disproportionate burden on the rights of already vulnerable persons. At particular risk to these populations is the right to health, as well as to interconnected human rights. Yet, scholars have generally not provided a thorough assessment of precisely how human rights law can catalyze a response to climate change to effectively avert health harms. This article suggests that human rights law is better suited to guide procedural responses to climate change and its health harms than it is to guide substantive decision-making. This article describes the ways in which climate change implicates the right to health and then analyzes human rights law’s response. While acknowledging the intrinsic value of human rights in prompting climate change action, the article focuses its analysis on human rights’ instrumental value in this arena.