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Cover Human Rights: Politics and Practice

23. The Environment  

John Barry and Kerri Woods

This chapter examines the ways that environmental issues affect human rights and the relevance of human rights to environmental campaigns. It also evaluates proposals for extending human rights to cover environmental rights, rights for future generations, and rights for some non-human animals. The chapter begins with a discussion of the relationship between human rights and the environment, along with the notion that all persons have ‘environmental human rights’. It then analyses the impact of the environment on human security and its implications for human rights issues before considering case studies that illustrate how environmental issues directly impact on the human rights of the so-called environmental refugees, who are displaced from lands by the threat of climate change and also by development projects. Finally, the chapter describes the link between human rights and environmental sustainability.


Cover Human Rights

Human Rights and the Environment  

Sumudu Atapattu

This chapter considers the link between human rights and environmental protection. It covers the emergence of environmental rights and its correlation to the human rights framework as it provided relief to victims of environmental degradation and gave a voice to marginalized communities despite its limitations. The chapter provides an outline of the evolution of environmental rights starting from the enactment of the Stockholm Declaration on Human Environment. It then explores the recent development in environmental rights, such as the framework principles on human rights and the environment, Global Pact for the Environment and Environmental Rights Initiative. The UN Human Rights Committee handled the case of Teitiota v. New Zealand which revolved around climate refugees.


Cover The Politics of the Earth

6. Leave It to the Market  

Economic Rationalism

Economic rationalism involves the intelligent deployment of market instruments to achieve public ends such as environmental protection and resource conservation. The instruments in question can involve the establishment of private property rights in land, air, and water; “cap and trade” markets in pollution rights (emissions trading); tradeable quotes in resources such as fish; green taxes, such as a carbon tax; and the purchase of offsets to compensate for environmentally damaging behavior. These instruments have been adopted in many countries, though with some resistance from those who believe there is more to life than economic reasoning.