Human Dignity for Future Generations

Captain Jacques-Yves Cousteau: Petition for a Bill of Rights for Future Generations

Article 1 provides: "Future generations have a right to an uncontaminated and undamaged Earth and to its enjoyment as the ground of human history, of culture, and of the social bonds that make each generation and individual a member of one human family". For more information see http://www.cousteau.org/about-us/futuregen.


I started writing about a collective law for future generations back in 2008.  This work focused on something not done before.  First, rather than try to dream up new norms, I pulled out the fundamental legal principles of international climate law from treaty and other legal text.  The outcome was a comprehensive comparative study of international climate law.  Working with something countries already agreed upon provided a base for my advisory work.

Second, and again in consistency with international agreements, I linked the resultant juridical first principles to consequential legal norms.  And, from this, I structured a unified and universal platform for climate change negotiators.  I then used this second framework to support numerous states to get a deal done within the UNFCCC COPs.

Rather than get each developed country to dig deeper to bind results, or emissions, which had not been successful since 1992, I argued that everyone has a part to play.  After all, climate harm seeps across borders.  Based on civil law, I argued that binding nationally intended contributions could play a pivotal first step in future negotiations and act as a springboard to committed results-based programmes for mitigation and adaptation, loss and damage, and insurance, etc. now and in the future.

See “Climate Justice - A Voice for the Future" (released by Palgrave-MacMillan in 2014).