Very few people can afford a one-way ticket from planet Earth to settle on another habitable planet. When the prophesied and dreaded apocalypse occurs, the vast majority of humanity will struggle to survive. It is now time for the rich and the have-nots to fight for climate justice!
Hile billionaires like Elon MuskRichard Branson and jeff bezos can easily pay for space exploration, their interest and investment in other habitable planets requires our special attention. It could be that their gigantic ego of being part of the “Billionaires Club” allows them to do so while thousands of their workers struggle to make ends meet, or maybe they know something we don’t. This recently promoted “space vacation” is reminiscent of the film, Don’t look up.
Climate justice used to be seen as some sort of attention-grabbing, elitist, opportunistic “hobby” by a wealthy minority of the world’s leaders, countries, and corporations. Many of them were actually drivers of climate change. They would see Swedish activist Greta Thunberg as a threat. It is well known that those most devastated by climate change come from downsized and disadvantaged communities. They also tend to be least responsible for the catastrophic change.
The harmful effects on minorities make the fight against climate change a matter of life and death. It remains uncertain how it will be stopped and who should take what action to stop it. With Earth Day approaching (Friday, April 22), it seems appropriate to focus on how international climate justice might be prioritized.
An example is events such as Cyclone Idai and Cyclone Kenneth, which devastated Mozambique in 2019.
There have been severe droughts and floods and millions of people around the world are suffering. This has led to millions of people seeking humanitarian aid despite not being involved in the causes of the extreme changes that have devastated their lives.
Climate justice means different things to different people, but at its core is recognizing that those who are disproportionately affected by climate change are not the primary culprits. But it is not just an environmental issue: it intersects with social systems, privilege and embedded injustices, and unequally affects people of different class, race, gender, geography and generation.
The climate solutions proposed by climate justice advocates aim to address long-standing systemic injustices. Climate justice has been on the radar of member countries since its negotiation at the UN Climate Change Convention in the 1990s, but was only vaguely mentioned in the Paris Agreement, where it notes: “The importance of the concept of ‘climate justice’ to some”.
However, climate justice is not just a concept as it is strongly linked to historical injustices of slavery and colonialism, which answers the question of who is responsible for how climate change should be stopped and who should take what actions to stop it .
Climate justice, like all social and racial justice movements, both past and present, will continue to bring to light centuries-old injustices.
As we have seen, justice is not only achieved through political discussions at summits, but through awareness and action at all levels.
It’s about more than discussions about who should cut emissions.
The powerful global community must accept the bitter and uncomfortable truth that poverty in the countries of the Global South is the result of colonization. Because many of the vital raw materials and natural resources were and are taken from these countries by the industrialized nations.
When twin cyclones Idai and Kenneth hit Mozambique in 2019, the country was forced to borrow from the International Monetary Fund, adding to its already high national debt. Instead, Mozambique could have drawn on the $100 billion (€92.5 billion) — “the big bargain” of the Paris Agreement — pledged annually to countries in the Global South from 2020 to help fight climate change. In this case, climate justice would take into account the lingering legacies of colonialism with Portugal and Britain. The two countries would recognize their responsibilities and pay reparations, leaving Mozambique debt-free.
But the debate about who should take what action inevitably bogged down in politics.
The aim of the UN climate summit is to take decisions and find just solutions for climate protection and justice. But richer countries often refuse to take responsibility for their massive amounts of emissions, despite the havoc they wreak on less powerful nations. In 2020, the United States withdrew from the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement. The move was announced by the Trump administration in 2017.
At the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference ( COP26) in Glasgow, Alok Sharma, the President of COP26, offered an emotional apology after a last-minute package of changes to its wording on coal was agreed.
A key commitment to “phase out” coal was changed to “phase out” after opposition from China and India. Sharma announced that he was “deeply sorry” for how the negotiations ended.
The longer political leaders change their positions to collectively keep global warming to “well below” 2C and “make efforts” to limit it to 1.5C under the Paris Agreement, the longer everyone gets forms of injustice persist.
There is no single way to define, let alone advocate, climate justice. We need to get to a point where we recognize that this is in our common interest and ally with other social justice movements.
Only when we reach a point where everyone lives a life of dignity – recognizing that we can’t all afford the space shuttle ticket from planet earth – will we have achieved climate justice.
https://www.independent.ie/opinion/comment/poorer-nations-paid-the-price-for-colonisers-greed-and-will-pay-the-price-for-climate-change-41564771.html Poorer nations paid the price for colonizers’ greed – and will pay the price for climate change