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Climate Adaptation, Vulnerability and Rights-Based Litigation: Broadening the Scope of Climate Litigation Using Political Ecology

Ohdedar, Birsha (2021) 'Climate Adaptation, Vulnerability and Rights-Based Litigation: Broadening the Scope of Climate Litigation Using Political Ecology.' Journal of Human Rights and the Environment. ISSN 1759-7188 (In Press)

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This article examines the nexus between climate vulnerability, rights and litigation with a focus on the Global South. Reducing vulnerability is inherent to climate adaptation and the protection and realisation of human rights. However, despite these linkages, vulnerability has been given scant attention in climate law literature. Through a more detailed understanding of vulnerability, we can identify a wider variety of cases that are relevant to why people are climate vulnerable and the potential for strategic interventions. Accordingly, using an interdisciplinary framework drawing upon political ecology, the article outlines two broad approaches to vulnerability. The hazards approach, based upon protecting people from the physical impacts of climate change; and the social vulnerability approach, which foregrounds the socio-political factors that underpin why particular groups of people are more vulnerable than others. India is then used as a case study to illustrate three types of litigation relevant from a vulnerability perspective: litigation on droughts, land conflicts and agrarian debt. These cases, though not traditionally defined as ‘climate litigation’, are fundamentally issues of climate vulnerability, adaptation and rights. The cases demonstrate how different framings of climate vulnerability are embedded within the arguments and directions of the courts. Ultimately, the article argues that through a closer understanding of climate vulnerability, litigation can be a vehicle for adaptation by identifying and tackling the structural causes of vulnerability and rights issues.

Item Type: Article
Divisions: Faculty of Humanities
Faculty of Humanities > Law, School of
SWORD Depositor: Elements
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 11 Nov 2021 15:50
Last Modified: 06 Jan 2022 14:32

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