A White Paper for COP28, Dubai, 2023
White Paper prepared for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) COP28 Dubai, UAE November 2023
Catastrophic climate disruption is the direct result of human activities pushing beyond the liveable limits of the natural world. A core factor in the current incongruent human/nature relationship is that the dominant, over-extractive global economy fails to sustain and regenerate life. So-called "market-based solutions" at the center of most climate responses rely on two false assumptions: 1) that we can solve climate change by putting a price tag on nature's vital processes and then offset polluting activities; and 2) that we can continue to perpetuate an economic system based on endless extraction and material production on a finite planet.
If we are to exist and even thrive as a species and hopefully return to a healthy and interconnected relationship with the natural world, we will need to redefine "wealth" away from financial accumulation towards regeneration and well-being. To support such a cultural shift will require a new body of human law to codify and implement these values. Rights of Nature provides such an alternative framework, and it is quickly gaining favour, with laws expressed in more than 35 countries in the last 15 years and many others under consideration. Rights of Nature (or Rights of Mother Earth and other terminology) seeks to define legal rights for ecosystems to exist, flourish, and regenerate their natural capacities.