“The adverse impacts of a warming climate are not felt equitably among people”
By Carlos Roa
The effects of climate change are being felt around the world, from rising sea levels and extreme weather events to droughts and food shortages. But while everyone is affected, the impacts of climate change are not evenly distributed.
One approach to the concept of climate justice might be to point out that those who have contributed the least to the problem are often those who suffer the most.
According to Yale Climate Connections, an initiative of Yale University, “It begins with the idea that the adverse impacts of a warming climate are not felt equitably among people.”
And in fact, the same climate events have entirely different consequences when they occur in different regions. In essence, climate justice recognizes that the causes and effects of climate change are not equally distributed around the world.
Transforming climate justice into climate action
Addressing climate change therefore requires not only reducing greenhouse gas emissions, but also focusing on the underlying inequalities that exacerbate the problem.
It is not just about making sure that the transition to a low-carbon economy is fair and equitable, but also about ensuring that the most vulnerable communities are not left behind.
The people who have contributed the least to global greenhouse gas emissions are often the hardest hit by the effects of climate change. For example, low-lying island nations and coastal communities are particularly exposed to sea level rise. People living in poverty in these vulnerable locations are often the most affected by extreme weather events, such as floods and droughts.
Climate justice also recognizes that the transition to a low-carbon economy will require significant changes in the way we produce and consume energy, and that these changes will not be easy for everyone.
At the heart of climate justice is the idea of equity. It is about ensuring that those who have contributed the least to the problem of climate change are not harmed the most.
The University of California Center for Climate Justice lays out six pillars for achieving climate justice: Just Transition; Social, Racial and Environmental Justice; Indigenous Climate Action; Community Resilience and Adaptation; Natural Climate Solutions; and Climate Education and Engagement.
In short, climate justice is about addressing inequities in the fight against climate change.
The topic of climate justice was addressed at our recent Climate Correction™ conference. This session is available on our Climate Correction podcast and you can listen to it here.