Individuals have the right to be shielded from climate change

Individuals possess a fundamental right to be shielded from the detrimental effects of climate change was emphasized by the Supreme Court last week. The court asserted that this entitlement inherently stems from the right to life(Art 21) and the right to equality(Art 14) enshrined in the Indian Constitution.

The court emphasised that the right to clean air or a clean environment is already firmly anchored in Indian legal principles. However, given the escalating impact of climate change, the court deemed it imperative to recognize the right to protection against its adverse consequences as a separate and distinct entitlement.

Globally, as the impacts of climate change become more pronounced and government and corporate responses remain inadequate, an increasing number of individuals and organizations are turning to legal avenues to address these shortcomings.

Many petitioners advocating for more robust climate action have cited rights such as the right to life, human rights, the right to health, and access to food, water, or family life, within a rights-based approach similar to the framework outlined by the Supreme Court.


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