A Conference at the Heart of the Crisis

Increasing drought, the spread of tropical disease, storm surges with rising duration and severity, and unprecedented human dislocation will reduce food security and access to freshwater, promote the spread of disease beyond normative ranges, and uproot millions of people who inhabit coastal regions. It is projected that the survival ability of many of the world’s indigenous and most disadvantaged peoples will be at stake. The application of both codified and customary international and national human rights law will be critical in addressing the massive humanitarian crises ignored by technical market solutions to climate change and moderate political reforms.

Market-based solutions to climate change are popularly promoted but fail to completely address the humanitarian emergency at the heart of our climate crisis. Without legal remedies to help level the playing field, the fundamental rights of people who lack both political power and economic autonomy will be imperiled.

The legal community is in a unique position to spearhead innovative solutions to climate change to account for the basic protection of fundamental human rights. The Law of Climate Change and Human Rights Conference will bring legal practitioners and scholars from a range of disciplines together with an international body of relief organizations and peoples impacted most heavily by climate change, to discuss the application of human rights law to the impending climate crisis. Numerous scholars have suggested that human rights law may provide the most adequate and responsible remedy for climate-related impacts, and this conference will create an international forum to thoroughly test the available remedies, raise the legal issues associated with these remedies, and collaborate over necessary advancements in the law.

Through the lens of a fictitious disaster scenario, The Law of Climate Change and Human Rights Conference will offer an opportunity for creative problem-solving and collaboration for lawyers engaged in the historically separate fields of environmental, human rights, refugee, and public health law, and scholars from fields as diverse as philosophy and geography. Panels will address topics such as the forced migration of climate refugees, the disproportionate impacts of climate change on the world’s poor, the national security implications of climate change, as well as reforms to the governance structure overseeing climate mitigation.


Six Degrees

Mark Lynas's book Six Degrees: Our Future on a Hotter Planet (National Geographic Press), informs the factual narrative of the disaster scenario framing the Three Degrees conference. Lynas uses state of the art scientific research and computer modeling to inform the book's degree-by-degree analysis of predicted crises. His thesis relies upon a one to six degree centigrade rise in the planet's temperature by the end of this century, the same figures cited by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

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