Climate Change: Tackling the Greatest Human Rights Challenge of Our Time (CIEL/CARE) (February 2015)

Climate change is not just an environmental issue, but is fast becoming the greatest human rights challenge of our time. It is an issue of justice and inequality for the millions of people and communities around the world who already are experiencing climate harms. It is also an issue for future generations who will suffer increasingly severe loss and damage. The international community’s historic and present failures to take urgent action to mitigate climate change is further threatening these rights, especially for vulnerable peoples and communities who are already experiencing the adverse impacts of climate change. However, if the international community acts urgently with ambition and scaled-up resources, it can reduce the very worst climate impacts.

As recognized by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), UN Human Rights Council (Council) and numerous scientific bodies and governments, the impacts of climate change – as well as the responses taken to address climate change – are already affecting the enjoyment of fundamental, internationally recognized human rights. In light of these threats, urgent action is required at all levels to minimize and halt the impacts of climate change and to ensure that all solutions enshrine human rights. Thus far, the UNFCCC has been slow to address the human rights dimensions of climate change.

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