Challenging Injustice, Advancing Human Rights

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Tell President Biden: Support Climate Justice at the UN

U.S. leadership must join the call for a global Advisory Opinion on climate justice

Time is running out to avert climate disaster. The world is on track to far exceed the 1.5 degrees of warming that climate experts believe is the limit the planet can sustain.

In the face of this crisis, a youth-led movement from the Pacific Islands is calling on world leaders to use a critical tool of international law to respond. UUSC partners the Pacific Islands Students Fighting Climate Change are leading a campaign to seek an Advisory Opinion from the International Court of Justice (ICJ)—a UN body charged with interpreting and enforcing international law. They are asking the court to advise governments around the world on their obligations under international law to protect the rights of current and future generations from the adverse effects of climate change. This would set in motion urgently-needed legal processes to protect people whose lives are already being upended by the climate crisis and to mitigate future harms. 

U.S. leaders could easily support this call. The UN General Assembly can request an Advisory Opinion from the ICJ on “any legal question,” and a resolution to accomplish this is expected to be tabled soon. The U.S. should back this measure and thereby help secure justice for climate-affected people—especially in light of the United States’s historical contribution to the underlying problem. Help us call on the Biden administration to vote yes on this measure at the next UN General Assembly meeting. 

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Photo Credit: iStock—Alessandro Biascioli