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Choosing a future: the social and legal aspects of climate change

Grear, Anna and Gearty, Conor 2014. Choosing a future: the social and legal aspects of climate change. Journal of Human Rights and the Environment 5 , pp. 1-7. 10.4337/jhre.2014.02.00

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It is increasingly clear that anthropogenic climate change is a real and destructive phenomenon. Glimpses of this reality are everywhere and ever more numerous. Extreme weather events, in particular, resonate strongly through the public psyche, carried by viral media images: devastation in the Philippines in the aftermath of Typhoon Hayan; the haunting white grip of the −50C ice vortex in the United States of America; extreme heat and bushfires in Australia; extensive flooding in the United Kingdom. Such events – just this year alone – and the human stories emerging from the statistics of tragedy speak directly of the human and environmental effects of climate change. Some of the social impacts of such events are obvious – others less so. Not everyone watching the news coverage of the United Kingdom flooding this European winter will be aware, for example, of the fields full of dead badgers and raw sewage or of rats invading homes to escape newly submerged sewers – or of the complex ecosystem implications for crops, planned production patterns, economic futures, legal and regulatory responses and other numerous – and not always predictable – outcomes. Nor will everyone be aware of the complex social impacts of such events: on the one hand, communities uniting to help one another, on the other hand, looting, predation and fear.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Published Online
Status: Published
Schools: Law
Publisher: Edward Elgar Publishing
ISSN: 1759-7188
Last Modified: 25 Feb 2019 14:29

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