Addressing the International Bar Association annual conference in Dublin's Convention Centre yesterday, Mrs Robinson said the public needs to urgently motivate political leaders to act on climate change.
"Until there is greater demand from people in all walks of life for meaningful action on climate change, political leaders will continue to be able to return home from unsuccessful climate conferences with little fear of retribution," she said.
She told delegates that the economic growth experienced in past decades had come at a cost, which was being borne by people in developing countries.
The former UN Commissioner for Human Rights told the lawyers they had a role in tackling climate change -- as it was not just an economic and environmental issue, but a human rights issue.
" Climate change threatens to be one of the great injustices we inflict on our grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
"We need to look at the potential impacts of climate change 100 years hence and plan for a world very different to that in which we live today."