Despite international recognition of the greater vulnerability of persons with disabilities to climate change, disability issues have received little attention from practitioners, policy makers, and scholars in this field. As countries move forward with measures to combat climate change and adapt to its impacts, it is critical to understand how these efforts can be designed and implemented in ways that can respect, protect, and fulfill the human rights of disabled persons.
Complaints about excessive economic burdens associated with regulation abound in contemporary political and legal rhetoric. In recent years, perhaps nowhere have these complaints been heard as loudly as in the context of U.S. regulations targeting the use of coal to supply power to the nation’s electricity system, as production levels in the coal industry dropped by nearly half between 2008 and 2016.
According to most estimates, more than one hundred million people will be permanently displaced by climate change by 2050. Among the people most at risk of displacement are American Indians. If the government does nothing, or simply does not do enough, hundreds of Indian communities across the United States will be destroyed, the members of these communities devastated, endangered, and displaced.
Through building waves of legal scholarship and litigation, a group of legal academics and practitioners is advancing a theory of the public trust doctrine styled as the “atmospheric trust.” The atmospheric trust would require the federal and state governments to regulate public and private actors to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to abate climate change.