2 Climate change, climate justice and future generations

2.1 What is climate justice?

Global warming is an issue of human rights and environmental justice. With rising temperatures, human lives, particularly those from poorer backgrounds, are increasingly affected by poor health, financial burdens and social, cultural and environmental disruptions.

These communities are the first to experience the negative impacts of global warming, such as poor air quality, heat-related illness and death, respiratory illness, infectious diseases, unaffordable or unsustainable rises in energy costs, and extreme natural disasters (e.g. erratic floods, hurricanes, mud-slides and so on).

Undoubtedly, they bear disproportionate burdens from the impact of climate change and from ill-designed government policies to prevent climate change and the side effects of the energy systems that cause it. Critically, those who are most affected are generally the least responsible for the greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change.

Climate justice is a vision to dissolve and alleviate the unequal burdens created by climate change. As a form of environmental justice, climate justice is the fair treatment of all people and freedom from discrimination with the creation of policies and projects that address climate change and the systems that create climate change and perpetuate discrimination.

(Source: http://www.ejcc.org/cj/)

Climate justice can be explored through these web-based resources:

The website of the Environmental Justice and Climate Change Initiative, USA, provides a discussion of what climate justice is from an American as well as from a global perspective.

An article entitled ‘Climate justice and equity’ by Anup Shah, January 2008, can be found on the Global Issues website.

An article entitled ‘Africa: Climate justice – turning up the heat’ by Collins Cheruiyot, June 2009, can be found at allAfrica.com.

The questions ‘What is climate justice?’ and ‘Who is climate change affecting the most?’ are posed and answered at EarthBlips.

Details of the charity CAFOD Climate Justice Campaign can be found on the CAFOD website.

‘Mobilization for Climate Justice’, a North American grassroots resistance to the UNFCCC corporate climate agenda says:

The Mobilization for Climate Justice is a North America-based network of organizations and activists who have joined together to build a North American climate justice movement that emphasizes non-violent direct action and public education to mobilize for effective and just solutions to the climate crisis.

(Source: http://www.actforclimatejustice.org/)

A report entitled ‘Climate change and human rights’ is available from the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission of Australia website.

Various media and press releases about climate justice from around the world can be found on the Climate Justice website:

The Climate Justice Project is a student-led campaign advocating Contraction & Convergence – an international framework for reducing global carbon emissions; we believe that it is the fairest and most effective solution for curbing climate chaos.

(Source: http://www.climatejustice.org.uk/)

1.3 Sustainability and climate change, biodiversity and poverty