City Bar Calls for “Meaningful Climate-Related Adaptation” to Preserve Rule of Law, Social Stability and Democracy Around the World

In a report by its Task Force on Climate Adaptation released today, the New York City Bar Association warns that despite the commitments made at the COP21 meeting in Paris to reduce (or ‘mitigate’) greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, climate change “will make portions of major cities (and in some cases entire cities) uninhabitable and agricultural areas unproductive, undermining fundamental rights and the rule of law for tens (perhaps hundreds) of millions of people and creating explosive conditions that threaten social stability and democracy in many regions of the world.” To avoid these consequences, according to the report, meaningful climate-related adaptation must be seen as an urgent priority. “Effective urban and rural adaptation will require comprehensive science-based planning, active community participation, expanded infrastructure, reformed title registration, improved judicial institutions and large amounts of financial assistance from the international community,” states the report. The report cites as the most promising source of financial assistance “an international financial transaction microtax (FTM), which could provide significant funds on the sustained basis necessary to permit eligible local, regional and national governments to plan and implement the multi-year projects required in cities, on farms and among IDPs in their countries. While this proposal may prove controversial, we believe it essential to permit developing countries to have the ability to adapt successfully to a changing world that threatens not only the global environment but also a social order based on law and fundamental human rights.” The Task Force on Climate Adaptation includes members of the City Bar’s Council on International Affairs, International Human Rights Committee and Environmental Law Committee, as well as other experts, practitioners and legal scholars. The report can be read here: