Human Rights & Climate Change



This course, taught by Professors Evelyne Schmid and Petra Butler, as well as Ms. Lara Blecher, will introduce participants to the interaction between climate change and human rights law. It will cover the basics about how climate change threatens human rights enjoyment and will explore the contours of the debate about how or to what extent human rights law is, or is not, able to take into account climate change threats, locally and from the perspective of global distributive justice. Participants will learn about some of the most well-known types of international climate litigation strategies based on human rights law (litigation against states, against corporations/non-state actors, advisory proceedings), and, vice versa, we will also will briefly look into litigation strategies by powerful non-state actors or by governments who attempt to curb or delay climate action or to shrink the space for environmental protection and activism. 


The course will also focus on the impact of climate change on small states, in particular small island states (SIDS). Climate change impacts are disproportionally affecting SIDS and at the same time they are contributing hardly at all to the climate change crisis. The participants will take a closer look at the particular coping mechanisms small states are developing in regard to the climate change challenge.


This course will analyse various aspects of the ‘just transition.’ It will explore the international legal foundation for this concept and analyse examples of how just transition considerations are playing out in the real world. Participants will be asked to draft a ‘just transition plan’ from the perspective of a government, a trade union, and a business taking into account the link between climate and human rights and the identification of tensions that prevent good solutions to dealing properly with both issues.






Evelyne Schmid

Petra Butler

Lara Blecher




disputes.jpgInternational Business Disputes

transactions.jpg International Business Transactions

regulation.jpg International Business Regulation

Climate Change B&W.png Climate Change Law and Litigation



3 ECTS credits



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