Climate justice asks for systems and humans to change to lead global average temperature below 2℃ and pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5℃ above pre-industrial levels.
Climate justice is used widely among researchers, NGOs, politicians, and climate activists with a clear call to action to put pressure on the government and private sector to change their behavior in tackling the climate crisis, regulate new laws benefiting the environment and society, and to pay the price for their actions.
The history of climate justice dates back to the 1990s, when there was a concern about unequal distribution and the burden of climate impacts on indigenous groups, marginalized communities, women, and disabled people. It has also been used as intergenerational injustice where older generations benefit from fossil fuels and leave young people to deal with its consequences.
Climate justice is about sharing the fair and equal distribution of benefits and burdens regarding climate change. Climate justice aims to bring the most vulnerable communities and people at the core of this topic and tackle climate topics as a civil right. Vulnerable people or those affected by climate change have contributed least to the climate crisis, yet they suffer the most, which is unjust.
Floods, drought, famine, and wildfire affect the poor and marginalized people the most and lead them to unwanted death. Yet, they are not the ones with high responsibility for causing these natural disasters. It is the giant corporates and companies followed by weak government policies that paved the ground for such loss and crisis. It is significantly important to consider human rights and social equality in addressing climate change.
There is an argument that when industries burn a high amount of fossil fuels and endanger humans’ lives, environment, and biodiversity, they should redistribute their wealth toward dealing with their actions’ consequences. In other words, the big players polluting our planet should pay the price and keep contributing back to environmental protection and assist people who are suffering from their actions.
The Climate Movements Demand
Several global movements are emerging to speak up for climate justice, such as Fridays for Future, People’s Demands, and Global Campaign to Demand Climate Justice.
Fridays for Future movement points out three pillars for climate justice; 1) distributional pillar that emphasizes how the cost-benefit of climate change is shared, 2) procedural pillar points out that the process of making a decision about climate change response should be fair, accountable, and transparent, and 3) recognition pillar calls on all stakeholders to recognize and understand the differences between groups in how they experience climate change and giving them the right to express the differences.
People’s Demands addresses their demands to the government and United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Their demands are a series of diverse and practical actions. Those are:
1) Keeping fossil fuels in the ground by transitioning to 100% renewable energy by 2030 in developed countries, phasing out subsidies to the fossil fuel sector, and banning exploration and extraction of fossil fuels.
2) Rejecting a false and manipulative solution by rejecting carbon capture and storage mechanisms, and stopping converting local agricultural lands for non-food production plans.
3) Advancing feasible solutions by shifting the energy sector from fossil fuel, nuclear, and biofuels to clean and green energy like solar, wind, and hydro, supporting the ecological restoration and protecting workers and communities affected by climate change.
4) Increasing climate finance for developing countries and supporting them in having equal potential in tackling climate change.
5) Ending pollutant corporates’ interference in climate talks and preventing their influence on lobbying, negotiations, and policies.
As individuals in our workplace or educational institution environment, we should act with responsibility and speak up in addressing the root causes so that together we can witness social transformation on local, national, and global levels. Transformation is about green energy, sustainable production, our consumption practices, and considering present and next generations in our actions. There will be refusal from wealthy elites, giant corporates, and government, but its the people’s will that decides the faith of a nation, and individuals like you and I that can make the change.
Climate justice requires people’s mobilization across the globe, and it is about collective and continuous actions in various forms and on different levels. The new equal and sustainable world means fighting for green energy, food and water rights, transition for workers, livelihood security from climate disasters, protecting people’s rights, equal climate finance, ending false solutions and policies, and ending nature commodification and financialization.
Let’s act with clarity, cohesion, and courage to stabilize the Earth’s climate system and secure a sustainable and equal world.
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