Perspective | Published:

Achieving a climate justice pathway to 1.5 °C

Nature Climate Changevolume 8pages564569 (2018) | Download Citation


It is vital for climate justice to pursue a pathway to zero carbon emissions by 2050 to limit global temperature rise to 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels and to minimize the adverse impacts of climate change on people and their human rights. But can such a pathway be achieved without undermining human rights and restricting the right to development? This Perspective discusses the risks of action and inaction to identify a fair and just transition. It compares the risks posed to human rights from climate impacts with the risks posed by climate action and suggests that rights-informed climate action can maximize benefits for people and the planet.

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We thank C. Clarke for reviewing the early drafts of this Perspective. We also acknowledge P. Baer and S. Kartha, who prepared a paper for the Mary Robinson Foundation – Climate Justice on Zero Carbon Zero Poverty in 2015 that informed this Perspective. P. Baer is missed by all who work on climate justice and we dedicate this article to his memory.

Author information


  1. Mary Robinson Foundation – Climate Justice, Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland

    • Mary Robinson
    •  & Tara Shine


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M.R. and T.S. wrote the initial version of the paper. T.S. led on reviewing and analysing the literature, and on redrafting with inputs from M.R.

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing interests.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Tara Shine.

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