Eskimos cast global warming as human-rights issue

The Inuit people of the Arctic are trying to shift the debate on global warming, casting it as a human-rights issue rather than a purely environmental one. They plan to seek a ruling from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights that the U.S., by spewing greenhouse gases into the atmosphere and warming the planet, is threatening their existence. Though the commission — part of the Organization of American States — has no enforcement powers, a favorable ruling could establish the basis for a lawsuit, either against the U.S. in international court or against U.S. companies in U.S. federal court. Many observers, even some associated with industry, say the stars are aligning for this sort of legal challenge, or perhaps a stream of challenges like those that still bedevil the tobacco industry.