40 Cumb. L. Rev. 135 (2009-2010)
The Paradox of the Future in Contemporary Energy Policy: A Human Rights Analysis

handle is hein.journals/cumlr40 and id is 137 raw text is: THE PARADOX OF THE FUTURE IN CONTEMPORARY
ENERGY POLICY: A HUMAN RIGHTS ANALYSIS
DAVID M. SMOLIN'
Man hands on misery to man.
It deepens like a coastal shelf.
Get out as early as you can,
And don't have any kids yourself.
From This Be The Verse, Philip Larkin, Collected Poems 180
(1988).
As the world heads toward a projected 9 billion people by
2050, there are fundamental questions about how to provide an
adequate and sustainable standard of living for the world's popula-
tion. As a matter of human rights, the creation and provision of
an adequate standard of living is fundamental. As a practical mat-
ter, preparing to meet the projected needs of these future genera-
tions is one of the fundamental challenges of this generation and
time.
Energy is a fundamental component of meeting present and
future economic needs, both because it is a very significant eco-
nomic sector, and also because virtually all economic activity is de-
pendent on the availability of energy, in one form or another. The
availability and price of energy therefore deeply impacts the entire
economy, and hence is critical to both present and future eco-
nomic challenges. There is no way to create an adequate standard
' Harwell G. Davis Professor of Constitutional Law, Cumberland Law School,
Samford University; Director, Center for Biotechnology, Law and Ethics. I want to
thank Deepa Badrinarayana, Joshua Fershee, Lakshman Guruswamy, and Levi
Smolin for their comments on either the symposium presentation on which the
article is based and/or on an earlier written draft of the article. Any errors and
the opinions expressed are my own.
2 See, e.g., United Nations, Dep't of Econ. & Soc. Affairs, Population Div., World
Population Prospects: The 2008 Revision, Highlights, at ix, 1 (Working Paper No.
ESA/P/WP.210,             2009),            available          at
http://www.un.org/esa/population/publications/wpp2008/wpp2008_highlights.
pdf (according to medium variant, which assumes that fertility levels will continue
to decline, world population is projected to reach 9.1 billion in 2050).
3 See International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights, G.A. Res.
2200A (XXI), U.N. GAOR, Supp. No. 16, at 49, U.N. Doc. A/6316 (Dec. 16, 1966),
available at http://www2.ohchr.org/english/law/cescr.htm [hereinafter ESC
Covenant].

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