Florida A & M University Law Review


The term “climate justice” has been traditionally deployed by scholars to emphasize the need for international law to provide legal solutions for direct and disproportionate impacts of climate change on human life and survival, particularly in vulnerable communities. However, with emerging patterns of human rights violations, massive land grabs, forced displacements, marginalization, exclusions, and governmental repressions resulting from climate change response measures and projects (particularly clean development mechanism (CDM), and REDD+ projects), climate justice has increasingly gained a more expansive connotation. Human rights violations and climate injustices resulting from climate change projects have resulted in calls for an international approach that ensures that countries mitigate sources of climate change and adapt to its effects in a manner that respects human rights. The United Nations Human Rights-Based Approach (HRBA) has gained rapid ascendancy and mention in literatures as providing a normative framework for addressing these concerns. This paper evaluates the value, potentials, and paradoxes of the HRBA as a legal framework for mainstreaming human rights norms into the design, approval, finance, and implementation of climate change projects to avoid human rights impacts. The paper identifies and analyses three key paradoxes and questions that must be addressed to enhance the radical promise of this approach: (1) theoretical core question, (2) operationalization question, and (3) practical implementation question.