Is climate change a human rights violation?

Marie-Catherine Petersmann, Catriona McKinnon

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterScientificpeer-review


This debate considers whether climate change is a human rights violation and introduces students to normative political theory and the international human rights law (HRL) framework. Catriona McKinnon argues that climate change is already damaging a morally fundamental subset of human rights and will continue to do so in the future. All persons, present and future, have basic rights to subsistence and security and this generates a general duty for all people to work to create and support rights-respecting institutions.
Marie-Catherine Petersmann challenges this position by highlighting the difficulties of
applying the HRL framework to climate change which, by its very nature, is a collective
action problem that cannot easily be linked to one duty bearer and one victim. Instead, she draws upon new insights from environmental humanities to offer a different way of thinking about co-responsible agents and beneficiaries of a stable climate.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationContemporary climate change debates
Subtitle of host publicationA student primer
EditorsMike Hulme
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9780429446252
ISBN (Print)9781138332997
Publication statusPublished - 11 Dec 2019
Externally publishedYes


Dive into the research topics of 'Is climate change a human rights violation?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this