by GUSTAV LANYI
We have become familiar with the concept of climate change as greenhouse gases accumulate in the atmosphere and cause average global temperature to rise. No less than182 nations have agreed to cut their greenhouse gas emissions by ratifying the Kyoto Protocol, which entered into force in 2005 and is due to expire at the end of 2012. However, what do human rights — the rights we all have as human beings — have to do with climate change? Surprisingly, quite a lot, and the impacts are both direct and indirect. Many economic, social and cultural rights are impacted by climate change, including the rights to food, water, housing and health. Civil and political rights, such as the right to life, and the cultural rights of Indigenous people can also be impacted by climate change. This article examines these impacts,with a particular emphasis on Australia.