Home > Uncategorized > Reflection Essay 2: Analyzing the Human Rights Theory

Reflection Essay 2: Analyzing the Human Rights Theory

Simon Caney’s article discusses how anthropocentric climate change has been a to hindrance human rights. In the article, Caney defines that human rights are naturally given to everyone. He mainly covers the subtopics of human’s rights to life, health and substance. Caney then goes on to explain the nature of human rights and how they are interwoven with the concepts of humanity and moral thresholds. Finally, he discusses the cost-benefit analysis (CBA) of climate change which he says points to his original claims.

Although I enjoyed reading Caney’s essay, I has one issue with his human rights theory. When he begins his article, he explains that humans have a certain basic right because they are human and that any form of interference of this right is deemed morally wrong. This basic right is the right to live. Therefore, if there is any intrusion with this right, then it should not be considered. His crescendo is that climate change has been proven to interfere with the lives of others in a negative aspect and since majority of climate change is man-made, he claims that they are morally wrong. I understand how this theory would fit into climate change (and it works) but he should not claim this human rights theory as universal. As soon as I read this I already began to imagine how this theory could be exploited. If intruding on a basic human right is morally wrong, what would happen if the right to live was endangered by another person’s right to live. Hypothetically: two people sit in a room and only have enough water to sustain one of them life for 10 days. More water will be provided after those 10 days but they only have enough for one person in that time period. If they divide the water, it will not sustain both them long enough for the next round of water. So is it wrong if both of them want all the water? Is it wrong to want survival? Now I understand that this is a radical situation but Caney claims this human rights theory to be universal when there could be exceptions. However, Caney would respond that if one of the persons offered up their water then it would not be considered a breach of human rights. I agree but the universal claim is still an issue that should be addressed.

In his paper, I was able to see the different types of environmental injustice that is brought about with climate injustice. Many people follow the NMBY idea and this is a huge contribution as to why others deal with the effects of climate change. There is a clear lack of recognition justice because people who do contribute to climate change do not consider how it will affect others. You see this argument made against more developed countries. Another type of injustice that is present is distributive injustice. Climate change has affected many people who have not contributed to it. This is a key argument in Caney’s paper. He says that many people contribute to climate change and yet the non-contributors are distributed the negative effects. His cost-benefit analysis was able to solidify this argument by discussing how future generations do not have any contribution to the effects they will receive. Overall his article was interesting and despite the one issue I had with his universal claim, I was able to understand how climate justice is viewed and where is stands in relation to environmental justice as a whole.

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