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This comment argues that climate change threatens fundamental human rights recognized by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. Therefore, the United Nations should adopt the standards set forth in cases like Sacchi v. Argentina and Teitiota v. New Zealand to denote climate change as a threat to the right to health under Articles 11 and 12 of the 1966 International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights. Climate change is already having monumental impacts on access to food and access to clean water and sanitation, which this comment demonstrates by analyzing two country case studies: The Central African Republic and Papua New Guinea. In analyzing two different regions, this comment establishes climate change as a transnational threat, as was found by the Committee on the Rights of the Child in Sacchi.

Recent decisions such as Sacchi and Teitiota provide a path forward for addressing climate change litigation as it pertains to human rights. This Comment proposes that the United Nations redraft the Refugee Convention and its Protocol to include those fleeing as a result of climate change in the definition of a refugee, or alternatively that individual countries establish new ‘climate change’ resettlement categories and separate quota ceilings. Finally, this comment recommends that the United Nations should impose sanctions on Parties failing to sufficiently address the climate crisis.