The right to ‘live in a healthy and viable environment’ should be enshrined in the European Convention of Human Rights, according to according to PACE Committee on the Environment, Agriculture and Local and Regional Affairs.
PACE’s Rapporteur on Climate Change, former UK Deputy Prime Minister and Kyoto Protocol negotiator John Prescott is backing the call as part of its New Earth Deal campaign to secure a fairer deal at the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen in December.
Mr Prescott, who today begins a UK tour of schools at the Globe Academy in Southwark, London delivering a presentation on climate change, Kyoto and Copenhagen as part of UN Climate Week, said:
“In 1949, the Council of Europe drew up the European Convention of Human Rights to ensure that we never again had to endure a global war.
“60 years on, the global threat isn’t from war but from climate change.
“That’s why we propose drafting a new Protocol to the Convention, enshrining the right to a healthy and viable environment as a fundamental human right.”
PACE will recommend the proposal at its Road to Copenhagen Climate Change Conference in Strasbourg, France on Sept 29th as well as calling on the Council of Europe to adopt climate change as one of its core priorities and explore the linkages between climate change and human rights in Europe.
PACE will also call for an ambitious binding global agreement with a clear vision for a future low carbon world – based on more social and environmental equity and recommend that Council of Europe member states and observer states negotiate an integrated package of measures.
Mr Prescott added: “We believe that any deal negotiated must consider the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities.
“That means that social justice and the reduction of poverty must be at the very heart of any agreement. It also means equalising greenhouse gas emissions per head in each country.
“The climate change we’re experiencing across the world has been caused by the richer developed countries. They must now recognise the central principle that the polluter pays.”
The schools, which are being visited as part of Mr Prescott’s New Earth Deal campaign over the next three days, are:
Globe Academy, London, Pudsey Grangefield, Pudsey, nr Leeds, Parrs Wood High School in Didsbury, Manchester and Yardley’s School, Birmingham.
PACE has partnered with the environmental movie ‘Age of Stupid’ allowing access to use clips from the film in Mr Prescott’s school presentation and on its website.
The UK school tour will be launched on September 21st in London by one the Age of Stupid’s stars, windfarm developer and environmental activist, Piers Guy. His battle against nimbys (‘not in my back yard’ campaigners) opposing his windfarm development in Bedford, England will feature in the presentation.
Age of Stupid Director and founder of 10:10, Franny Armstrong said:
"Everyone at Team Stupid is delighted to join forces with John Prescott as he heads in to schools up and down the country."