Article written by Rahul Acharya
Have you ever seen your friends screaming and shouting in the street (especially around October-November) demanding for action and for commitment, holding a banner with « Justice Now » or « Time for Action » written on it? This is often confusing, you probably wonder what they were talking about.
In fact you are not alone. Many like you scratch their head when ecosteward friend all march-in together with big placards on roads or do flash mobs or flood your Facebook news feed with environmental hashtags. The term that describes this situation is « Climate Justice ».
So now that you know the terminology, why not digging a bit on the subject? For your convenience, I have listed down five points about Climate Justice.
1. What is Climate Justice?
Climate Justice is actually an amalgamation of environmental justice and social justice with human induced ‘Climate Change ‘ at its center. It frames climate change not just as an environmental or a physical issue but rather as a political and an ethical subject. It brings into limelight problems faced by scapegoat of Climate change and intends to create an atmosphere of a shared responsibility. Climate justice stands for a fair and an equitable society where every individual is expected to be aware of his/her climate responsibility. It tends to address complex questions that often are ’bone of contention’ at each and every International Summit like « Should rich countries pay for poor », « should rich countries emit less to permit developing countries to emit for their development », etc.
Climate Justice is more inclined towards uplifting of marginalized human being who are blameless victims of Climate change and make people aware of collective right, historical responsibility and equality.
2. Why should Climate Justice be implemented?
First and foremost, Climate Justice is not just merely about saving the mother earth or about protecting physical environment but is also about safeguarding human right.
Let’s make it very simple, how do you feel when you are given punishment for the crimes you never committed? Or how about you are paying fine for the wrong doing of others? While the real culprit are actually roaming and boasting about their achievement of their actions? You will feel betrayed, anguished, won’t you? Similar case apply to Climate Justice.
Climate Justice is about restoring lost human rights. As we know , men and women face negative efficacy of Climate Change differently.Like compared to men, women from developing countries are more vulnerable to climate change. In contrast, they are the one who have little to null contribution in anthropological climate change. So Climate Justice emphasizes the critical role women and every vulnerable individual or community can play to accelerate mitigation process and restore their ceased right. Climate Justice is also about sharing burdens as well as benefits in an equitable manner thus assisting in the creation of an harmonious society.
3. Some additional reason for Climate Justice implementation
Climate Justice is also about protecting future human rights. It stresses on the conservation of vast resources of nature for the sustainable use for future as well. After all, we have to transfer our mother earth to the next generations.
We came at that historical moment where we control the destiny of our human civilization. Every action we take has butterfly effect and noticeably will affect life of our future generations. In this regard, implementation of Climate Justice will play a pivotal role in inculcating sustainable behaviour, make ourselves responsible and act in a climatically justifiable manner. After all we want to transmit to our children a better world, doesn’t we ?
4. How can Climate Justice be implemented?
This is an important question. Climate Justice can be implemented in multiple ways. With diversity in types of effect faced by different people of globe and reasonable differences in demands, thoughts, beliefs and reactions towards Climate Change, different ways can be adopted to install Climate Justice. Though names and methods might vary on locality, main goal of its implementation remain intact. Some common methods could be the development and the promotion of Clean Energy. Promoting culture of lower carbon activity is another method or ‘Polluter Pays Policy’. The carbon trade/market is another effective mechanism. Immediate action targeted to those vulnerable communities that have been facing light of Climate change is urgently needed before they lose trust in humanity. Likewise, emphasizing the importance of women and youth empowerment, and the implementation of effective poverty alleviation program are necessary for a better understanding of Climate Justice.
All in all, business should not be permitted to run in ‘as usual’ manner. And both individual and corporate should be aware that implementing climate justice doesn’t mean to refuse engaging with industries. It is rather an establishment of human civilization where nature and development go hand in hand. Thus, behavioural changes are also very important for creating a functional Climate Justice.
5. Are there other possible methods of Climate Justice?
Certainly, there are multiple ways of their implementation. Climate Justice is not something that can be controlled by an effective national policy of a single country alone. The issue is not isolated rather it is open system. It is an international issue where each country has a remarkable impact on each other.
Thus, one of the best way to keep Climate Justice in track and make governments of every nation responsible is through legally binding international treaties and commitment. SDGs and Paris agreements are remarkable and latest examples of international agreements that are on pair with Climate Justice.
I personally found the Paris Agreement intimidating. The provision of $100 billion as a floor to help developing nations, five yearly national contribution on action and improvements if the objective is not reached, keeping global temperature rise well below 2 degree celsius and the set goal to keep it below 1.5 degree celsius warming above preindustrial era by 2100 are all very promising. However, I still am sceptic towards its effective implementation and doubts will not vanish until the promises made are reflected in action.
No matter how much we talk about ineffective international policy or the reluctance of corporate to act, until and unless each and every individual from his/her respective position does not fight for Climate Justice, it is very unlikely to expect an utopian society where Climate Justice is guaranteed.
If you are reading this blog article, you may be responsible for the implementation of climate justice . You can make a difference by sharing it so that everyone realize the importance of climate justice in our daily lives.
About the author: Rahul Acharya is an undergraduate student from Agriculture and Forestry University in Nepal. He is currently a District Environment and a Climate Coordinator for Leo District 325 B2 Nepal whose goal is to look after environment activities of 75 clubs associated with it. He is also a Regional Ambassador of Tunza Eco Generation for South Asia and he is currently involved as a CliMate Zero team member at CliMates. His areas of interest include Climate Justice, Innovation in business, Economics & Environment and Agroecology.