The climate crisis has already affected people from countries with lower GDPs and low carbon emissions, that have the smallest contribution to the problem we now face. The same is true for future generations, that will suffer the biggest consequences of the global heating. Climate justice is the term used for addressing the problem we now face in a fair manner, protecting and improving the well being of the most vulnerable and poor.
“Climate justice links human rights and development to achieve a human-centered approach, safeguarding the rights of the most vulnerable and sharing the burdens and benefits of climate change and its resolution equitably and fairly. Climate justice is informed by science, responds to science and acknowledges the need for equitable stewardship of the world’s resources.” (Mary Robinson Climate Justice Foundation)
“Climate change will affect many of the most vulnerable in society. It will affect the poor, it will affect religious or ethnic minorities, it will affect women and children. That should say a lot to a human rights organisation. It’s going to be the most marginalised who feel those impacts most acutely” (Richard Pearshouse, Human Rights Watch, Geneva). From health, housing and education to the right to life itself, Pearshouse sees climate change as having a massive impact on “a vast range of civil and political rights”.
The IPCC states the folowing: “Ethical considerations, and the principle of equity in particular, are central to this report, recognizing that many of the impacts of warming up to and beyond 1.5°C, and some potential impacts of mitigation actions required to limit warming to 1.5°C, fall disproportionately on the poor and vulnerable. Equity has procedural and distributive dimensions and requires fairness in burden sharing both between generations and between and within nations. In framing the objective of holding the increase in the global average temperature rise to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels, and to pursue efforts to limit warming to 1.5°C, the Paris Agreement associates the principle of equity with the broader goals of poverty eradication and sustainable development, recognizing that effective responses to climate change require a global collective effort that may be guided by the 2015 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.”
The sustainable development goals are a collection of 17 global goals set by the United Nations General Assembly in 2015 for the year 2030. They are the blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all.