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In recent years human rights have begun to feature prominently as a tool to address climate change. This article explores how the institutions and tools of the human rights system are being deployed to complement the negotiations within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, close the emissions gap and hold the increase in global average temperature below 2 °C or 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels. It offers an explanation of how the interface between rights and climate change has helped to evolve our analysis of socio-ecological thresholds, created a strong and compelling narrative centered on climate justice, and enhanced political processes to better account for the experience of vulnerable populations. The article shows that the various Special Procedures and Universal Periodic Review of the Human Rights Council are already advancing the cause of urgent and ambitious climate action and suggests ways in which they can become more influential in a wider climate change regime complex.