October 19, 2010


November 16th, 2010
New Delhi, India

The National peoples Tribunal will develop Peoples jurisprudence on climate change. Despite the deficient legal framework on climate change laws, increasing number of action in courts in different countries prove that there are enough provisions in the Public and private international law and domestic legislations to attempt bring accountability on the national governments to protect people from the climate change impacts. The most popular case in point is Inuit’s case where indigenous people bordering USA and Canada brought an action in American Commission on Human Rights. The petition sought relief from violations of the human rights of Inuit resulting from global warming caused by greenhouse gas emissions from the United States. Many similar actions on climate change might not succeed in the absence of proof of causation; however, they show a rising public and juridical opinion to seek legal redress to impacts of climate change. In the circumstances, it is only desirable that more such actions are brought to judicial, quasi judicial and peoples forum.

The National Peoples Tribunal will explore legal spaces available to generate state accountability to mitigate and protect people from climate change impacts. Besides, it would also send a strong message to the developed countries to conclude a fair and just climate deal.

To know more about the Tribunal please click on the links below :

October 18, 2010



Observed and projected climate change will affect the right to adequate housing in several ways. Sea level rise and storm surges will have a direct impact on many coastal settlements. Settlements in low-lying deltas are also particularly at risk, as evidenced by the millions of people and homes affected by flooding in recent years.

The erosion of livelihoods, partly caused by climate change, is a main “push” factor for increasing rural to urban migration. Many will move to urban slums and informal settlements where they are often forced to build shelters in hazardous areas. Already today, an estimated 1 billion people live in urban slums on fragile hillsides or flood-prone riverbanks and face acute vulnerability to extreme climate events.

Human rights guarantees in the context of climate change include: (a) adequate protection of housing from weather hazards (habitability of housing); (b) access to housing away from hazardous zones; (c) access to shelter and disaster preparedness in cases of displacement caused by extreme weather events; (d) protection of communities that are relocated away from hazardous zones, including protection against forced evictions without appropriate forms of legal or other protection, including adequate consultation with affected persons.

October 12, 2010



Loss of glaciers and reductions in snow cover are projected to increase and to negatively affect water availability for more than one-sixth of the world’s population supplied by meltwater from mountain ranges. Weather extremes, such as drought and flooding, will also impact on water supplies. Climate change will thus exacerbate existing stresses on water resources and compound the problem of access to safe drinking water, currently denied to an estimated 1.1 billion people globally and a major cause of morbidity and disease. In this regard, climate change interacts with a range of other causes of water stress, such as population growth, environmental degradation, poor water management, poverty and inequality.


Climate change is projected to affect the health status of millions of people, including through increases in malnutrition, increased diseases and injury due to extreme weather events, and an increased burden of diarrhoeal, cardio-respiratory and infectious diseases. Global warming may also affect the spread of malaria and other vector borne diseases in some parts of the world. Overall, the negative health effects will disproportionately be felt in sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia and the Middle East. Poor health and malnutrition increases vulnerability and reduces the capacity of individuals and groups to adapt to climate change.

Climate change constitutes a severe additional stress to health systems worldwide, prompting the Special Rapporteur on the right to health to warn that a failure of the international community to confront the health threats posed by global warming will endanger the lives of millions of people. Most at risk are those individuals and communities with a low adaptive capacity. Conversely, addressing poor health is one central aspect of reducing vulnerability to the effects of climate change.

Non-climate related factors, such as education, health care, public health initiatives, are critical in determining how global warming will affect the health of populations. Protecting the right to health in the face of climate change will require comprehensive measures, including mitigating the adverse impacts of global warming on underlying determinants of health and giving priority to protecting vulnerable individuals and communities.

October 09, 2010



A number of observed and projected effects of climate change will pose direct and indirect threats to human lives. IPCC AR4 projects with high confidence an increase in people suffering from death, disease and injury from heat-waves, floods, storms, fires and droughts. Equally, climate change will affect the right to life through an increase in hunger and malnutrition and related disorders impacting on child growth and development; cardio-respiratory morbidity and mortality related to ground-level ozone.

Climate change will exacerbate weather-related disasters which already have devastating effects on people and their enjoyment of the right to life, particularly in the developing world. For example, an estimated 262 million people were affected by climate disasters annually from 2000 to 2004, of whom over 98 per cent live in developing countries. Tropical cyclone hazards, affecting approximately 120 million people annually, killed an estimated 250,000 people from 1980 to 2000. Protection of the right to life, generally and in the context of climate change, is closely related to measures for the fulfilment of other rights, such as those related to food, water, health and housing.


As a consequence of climate change, the potential for food production is projected initially to increase at mid to high latitudes with an increase in global average temperature in the range of 1-3° C. However, at lower latitudes crop productivity is projected to decrease, increasing the risk of hunger and food insecurity in the poorer regions of the word. According to one estimate, an additional 600 million people will face malnutrition due to climate change, with a particularly negative effect on sub-Saharan Africa. Poor people living in developing countries are particularly vulnerable given their disproportionate dependency on climate-sensitive resources for their food and livelihoods. The realization of the right to adequate food requires that special attention be given to vulnerable and disadvantaged groups, including people living in disaster prone areas and indigenous peoples whose livelihood may be threatened.

(Based on the Report Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights A/HRC/10/6, 15 January 2009)

October 08, 2010


The detection of climate change is the process of demonstrating that an observed change is significantly different from what can be explained by natural variability. It does not necessarily imply that its causes are understood. The climate change can be attributed to anthropogenic causes and at the same time there are non-climate drivers such as land use, land degradation, urbanisation and pollution, affect systems directly and indirectly through their effects on climate.

The socio-economic processes that drive land-use change include population growth, economic development, trade and migration, which are proceeding at an unprecedented rate in India. Land-use changes hamper range-shift responses of species to climate change, leading to an extra loss of biodiversity. Additional land-use changes have been linked to changes in air quality and pollution taht affect the greenhouse process itself. It can also strongly magnify the effects of extreme climate events, e.g., heat mortality, injuries/fatalities from storms, and ecologically mediated infectious diseases.

There are also a large number of socio-economic factors that can influence, obscure or enhance the observed impacts of climate change and that must be taken into account when seeking a climate signal or explaining observations of impacts and even adaptations. For example, the noted effects of sea-level rise and extreme events are much greater when they occur in regions with large populations, inadequate infrastructure, or high property prices. The observed impacts of climate change on agriculture are largely determined by the ability of producers to access or afford irrigation, alternate crop varieties, markets, insurance, fertilisers and agricultural extension, or to abandon agriculture for alternate livelihoods. Demography (e.g., the elderly and the very young), poverty (e.g., malnutrition and poor living conditions), preventive technologies (e.g., pest control and immunisation), and healthcare institutions influence the impacts of climate change on humans.

October 04, 2010


(Based on the Report Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights A/HRC/10/6, 15 January 2009)

The physical impacts of global warming cannot easily be classified as human rights violations, not least because climate change-related harm often cannot clearly be attributed to acts or omissions of specific States.

Irrespective of whether or not climate change effects can be construed as human rights violations, human rights obligations provide imprtant protection to the individuals whose rights are affected by climate change or by measures taken to respond to climate change.

Under international human rights law, individuals rely first and foremost on their own States for the protection of their human rights. In the face of climate change, however, it is doubtful, for the reasons mentioned above, that an individual would be able to hold a particular State responsible for harm caused by climate change. Human rights law provides more effective protection with regard to measures taken by States to address climate change and their impact on human rights.

For example, if individuals have to move away from a high-risk zone, the State must ensure adequate safeguards and take measures to avoid forced evictions. Equally, several claims about environmental harm have been considered by national, regional and international judicial and quasi-judicial bodies, including the Human Rights Committee, regarding the impact on human rights, such as the right to life, to heath, to privacy and family life and to information.

Similar cases in which an environmental harm is linked to climate change could also be considered by courts and quasi-judicial human rights treaty bodies. In such cases, it would appear that the matter of the case would rest on whether the State through its acts or omissions had failed to protect an individual against a harm affecting the enjoyment of human rights. In some cases, States may have an obligation to protect individuals against foreseeable threats to human rights related to climate change, such as an increased risk of flooding in certain areas.

While international human rights treaties recognize that some aspects of economic, social and cultural rights may only be realized progressively over time, they also impose obligations which require immediate implementation. First, States parties must take deliberate, concrete and targeted measures, making the most efficient use of available resources, to move as expeditiously and effectively as possible towards the full realization of rights. Second, irrespective of resource limitations, States must guarantee non-discrimination in access to economic, social and cultural rights. Third, States have a core obligation to ensure, at the very least, minimum essential levels of each right enshrined in the Covenant.

In sum, irrespective of the additional strain climate change-related events may place on available resources, States remain under an obligation to ensure the widest possible enjoyment of economic, social and cultural rights under any given circumstances. Importantly, States must, as a matter of priority, seek to satisfy core obligations and protect groups in society who are in a particularly vulnerable situation.