An aboriginal claim hits the United Nations tomorrow. It is brought by Australia's Torres Strait Islanders. A coastal group facing devastating sea level rise, they contend that their government and, by implication, every government, owes its people a fundamental duty to ensure a livable environment.
A fundamental duty to ensure, i.e. safeguard, a livable environment. You might think that goes without saying. On the other hand, if you're part of the fossil energy economy you might find such a claim outlandish - as long as you're getting yours.
...the Australians’ argument is the first to seek the weight of the United Nations behind such a climate claim, and it could set a precedent for how the populations most vulnerable to the effects of global warming can seek redress under international law.
It is also the first time that the Australian government — which has failed to meet emissions reduction targets and continues to approve embattled coal mine projects — has faced climate change litigation that asserts a human rights violation. The claimants call on the country to help fund sea walls and other infrastructure that might save the Torres Strait Islands, which have a population of about 4,500, and to meet the emissions targets set under the Paris climate agreement.
If successful, the case “would really break new ground internationally,” said John Knox, a professor of international law at Wake Forest University and a former special rapporteur on human rights and the environment to the United Nations.
A livable future as a fundamental human right. There's an idea that is long overdue.