Affiliation: Gillings School of Global Public Health
Other Affiliation: Fondation Botnar
Gostin, Lawrence O.
Other Affiliation: Georgetown Law
Climate change poses a cataclysmic threat to public health and human rights. Global
health is inextricably linked to planetary health, with a changing climate influencing the
conditions necessary for human health and safety while undermining a range of human
rights. International legal agreements to mitigate emissions—from the 1992 United Nations
Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) through the 2015 Paris Agreement
and into the 2021 Glasgow Climate Pact—have faced limitations in ameliorating the public
health threats caused by the unfolding climate crisis. These inequitable health threats pose
sweeping implications for health-related human rights, especially in low- and middleincome
countries, with environmental degradation challenging the most fundamental
conditions for human life and the individual rights of the most vulnerable populations.
As public health concerns begin to be considered in climate change responses, human
rights can provide a legal path to support international mitigation efforts and health system
adaptation to address both the direct and indirect public health impacts of climate change.
This Special Issue of the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
addresses the dynamic balance between global health and climate justice, bringing together
policy analysis and empirical research to examine the public health threats of climate change
and consider the human rights advancements necessary to frame policies for mitigation