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Cardiff academic in Paris Climate Summit calls

26 November 2015

Climate Change

Network of world-renowned scholars issues human rights challenge

A human rights scholar from Cardiff University will next week (30 Nov) intensify a “clarion call” from a network of human rights scholars for governments around the world to deploy a crucial shift in their responses to climate change.

The calls come from the Global Network for the Study of Human Rights and the Environment (GNHRE), the largest network of human and environmental rights scholars in the world, founded by Professor Anna Grear from Cardiff University’s School of Law and Politics.

Dedicated to tackling human and environmental challenges, including climate change, the network comprises a network of multidisciplinary scholars from around the world.

The GNHRE has just issued a Declaration at the Paris Climate Summit, outlining the need for what it calls a “crucial shift” in the way that the world responds to climate change; driven by what it calls an “unsustainable status quo”.

The Draft Declaration on Human Rights and Climate Change combines new thinking and existing international human rights law. The network says it presents an alternative formulation of rights that foregrounds human rights, while simultaneously protecting the rights of non-human persons and living systems from climate harms. The Declaration has attracted the support of a growing group of scholars and others—such as Bianca Jagger and Mary Warnock, who have both publicly endorsed the Draft text.

Anna Grear, Professor of Law and Theory at Cardiff Law School UK, and the founder and director of GNHRE, said: “The talks in Paris represent the final chance for humanity as a species to avoid the most destructive consequences of climate change. The Declaration is statement by scholars across the world that our current approach to climate change is utterly inadequate in the face of this existential threat. Climate change is arguably the greatest human rights issue of all, and we call on every government at Paris to stand up as leaders in order to avert disaster—and to do so by questioning the ’taken-for-granted of the current framework of priorities.

“The Declaration is a practical, thought-provoking and nuanced challenge designed to transform the climate debate. The Declaration addresses the structural unfairness in current patterns of vulnerability to climate change and the need to address the limitations of market-based approaches to the climate challenge.”

GNHRE Co-Director Louis Kotze, a Research Professor at North-West University, South Africa commented: “The market isn’t going to solve climate change for us. Everyone who is standing around waiting for the environmental version of Steve Jobs is deluded. Tackling climate change will require cohesive, targeted and planned action from all governments and unless we evolve our approach, there is no chance of success.”

The GNHRE has delivered The Declaration ahead of Paris COP21 in the hope that this timely and necessary intervention gains the full and serious consideration it deserves. The Declaration is open for amendments until 19th February 2016. The GNHRE will remain active in campaigning for climate justice and encourages new members to get involved by emailing