Learn with Lena: International Human Rights Day

What does climate change have to do with human rights?

When the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was created in 1948, it was done so to hold firm to the highest of ideals, a set of entitlements that allow all people to live with dignity, freedom, equality, justice, and peace.

Many of our human rights, such as the right to life, health, food, and an adequate standard of living, are adversely affected by climate change.

What can we read to learn more about how climate change and human rights are connected and how? Where can we find books and articles?


When searching Libris, the Swedish National Catalog – and you only have to key in human rights climate change AND Lrwi in the search box – you will get 39 hits that contains these words. The Raoul Wallenberg Library has during many years built up a considerable collection on environmental law and its connection to migration, health, political conflicts, and war. Today we have in total almost 200 titles.

Lena the Librarian: The books I would like to recommend explain and help us see the link between climate change and human rights:

Human rights approaches to climate change – challenges and opportunities
Atapattu, Sumudu, Taylor & Francis, 2018

From the publisher: ‘Despite the clear link between climate change and human rights with the potential for virtually all protected rights to be undermined as a result of climate change, its catastrophic impact on human beings was not really understood as a human rights issue until recently.’

This book examines the link between climate change and human rights in a comprehensive manner. It looks at human rights approaches to climate change, including the jurisprudential bases for human rights and the environment, the theoretical framework governing human rights and the environment, and the different approaches to this including benchmark’

Read more [The Publisher]

Human rights and the environment: key issues, Atapattu, Sumudu A. & Schapper, Andrea, Routledge, Abingdon, Oxon, 2019

 From the publisher: ‘The field of human rights and the environment has grown phenomenally during the last few years and this textbook will be one of the first to encourage students to think critically about how many environmental issues lead to a violation of existing rights.

Taking a socio-legal approach, this book will provide a good understanding of both human rights and environmental issues, as well as the limitations of each regime, and will explore the ways in which human rights law and institutions can be used to obtain relief for the victims of environmental degradation or of adverse effects of environmental policies. In addition, it will place an emphasis on climate change and climate policies to highlight the pros and cons of using a human rights framework and to underscore its importance in the context of climate change’.

Read more [Publisher] 

 Climate change and human rights: an international and comparative law perspective, Quirico, Ottavio & Boumghar, Mouloud (eds.),Routledge, London, 2016

The book not only pose some relevant questions, but does also give the reader answers and share reflections on the link between climate change and human rights.


From the publisher: ‘Do anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions affect human rights? Should fundamental rights constrain climate policies? Although the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and human rights regulatory regimes have so far proceeded separately, awareness is arising about their reciprocal implications’.

To the Publisher

Human rights and climate change, Humphreys, Stephen (ed.) Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2010

Only from the table of content we can see that the book covers and most of our questions on the link between climate change and human rights.

Introduction: Human rights and climate change — Competing claims: human rights and climate harms  — Climate change, human rights and moral thresholds — Equitable utilization of the atmosphere : a rights-based approach to climate change? — Climate change, human rights and corporate accountability — Rethinking human rights: the impact of climate change on the dominant discourse  — Forests, climate change and human rights : managing risks and trade-offs.

From the Publisher: ‘As the effects of climate change continue to be felt, appreciation of its future transformational impact on numerous areas of public law and policy is set to grow. Among these, human rights concerns are particularly acute. They include forced mass migration, increased disease incidence and strain on healthcare systems, threatened food and water security, the disappearance and degradation of shelter, land, livelihoods and cultures, and the threat of conflict… The book examines a range of so-far unexplored theoretical and practical concerns that international law and other scholars and policy-framers will find increasingly difficult to ignore.’

Climate justice and human rights, Skillington, Tracey, Palgrave MacMillan, New York, NY, 2017

‘Examines the idea of climate justice in the international community, and highlights society’s changing view of climate change.

Focuses on the legal ramifications of climate change, from the rights of displaced peoples to the human right to water access.

Calls for action on an international level against climate change and discusses the future of community-led climate initiatives.

This book shows that escalating climate destruction today is not the product of public indifference, but of the blocked democratic freedoms of peoples across the world to resist unwanted degrees of capitalist interference with their ecological fate or capacity to change the course of ecological disaster. The author assesses how this state of affairs might be reversed and the societal relevance of universal human rights rejuvenated. It explores how freedom from want, war, persecution and fear of ecological catastrophe might be better secured in the future through a democratic reorganization of procedures of natural resource management and problem resolution amongst self-determining communities. It looks at how increasing human vulnerability to climate destruction forms the basis of a new peoples-powered demand for greater climate justice, as well as a global movement for preventative action and reflexive societal learning’.

To the Publisher

Someone wrote: ‘Multifaceted global problem of climate change demands ‘business unusual’ responses from different fields, including international human rights law’.


Welcome to the Raoul Wallenberg Library: we will help you to find the recommended titles and many more..!

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