SCELG Contributes to Climate Legislation Debates in Scotland
On 26th September 2018, SCELG Co-Director Elisa Morgera was invited to contribute to a Cross-Party Group meeting at the Scottish Parliament focusing on climate justice in relation to a new Climate Change Bill currently under consideration by the Parliament. The aim of the meeting was to raise awareness of climate justice arguments with parliamentarians advocating for a new ambitious bill from an environmental and social perspective.
Prof Morgera offered the following points:
- Although opinions on the legal strength of the Paris Agreement diverge, effectively implementing its provisions is also a matter of binding international human rights law (because of the negative implications of climate change on several human rights) and a matter of binding international biodiversity law (because of the negative implications of climate change on the variability of life on earth; and biodiversity loss, in turn, undermines the realization of basic human rights such as the right to life, health, water and food).
- Climate justice should therefore be based on relevant international obligations on biodiversity and human rights; and climate change response measures should be devised with a view to helping fulfilling also international human rights and biodiversity law, or at least not undermine them.
- An ecosystem-based and human rights-based approach to climate change mitigation and adaptation appears as an essential feature of any just or leading effort in relation to climate change.
- 169 Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity, including the UK, have already agreed upon, by consensus, on a series of guidelines on an ecosystem-based approach to climate change adaptation and mitigation (including in relation to disaster risk reduction) that focus on environmental impact assessments, invasive alien species, protected areas, migratory species, land and water management, as well as community-based approaches. These international guidelines can inspire climate justice and climate leadership approaches in detailed and pragmatic ways, both within Scotland and abroad (through Scottish development cooperation efforts, or the control of its investors abroad).
- Integrating international human rights and biodiversity standards into climate change initiatives (including effective regulation and monitoring of the private sector, as well as transparent, participatory and accountable decision-making processes) should , according to the 2018 UN Framework Principles on Human Rights and the Environment, be done "as expeditiously as possible" as best practice.
Prof Morgera directs the LLM in Global Environmental Law and Governance, which benefits from her research at the intersection of human rights, climate change and biodiversity under the BeneLex project.