Climate Justice – an overview

The term climate justice originated from the context of social movements, which have increasingly been dealing with issues of social, global and ecological justice since the seventies. At the centre of the debate was the link between the social and the ecological issue and the criticism of (global) power structures that also account for climate change. In conclusion, the latter is not to be conceived as an ecological crisis, but a crisis of societal relationships to nature.
The global effects of climate change are very diverse. Generally, countries in the global South are much more effected by climate change, but emit considerably fewer amounts of CO2 in comparison to countries of the global North, which are historically responsible for climate change. Thus, exposing the implications of climate change, the issue of global justice is paramount. Where are emissons to be reduced? Who is to pay for the adaptation programmes?
These questions have also been debated in the UN climate negotiations. For many NGOs, the justice aspect is neglected in the Kyoto Protocol and the COPs1. The propagated market-based mechanisms of cap and trade, of the Clean Development Mechanism2 and the Joint Implementation3 are not effective to reduce emissions. At the same time, these mechanisms have terrible social and ecological consequences. Instead of attempting to work on minor „cosmetic“ changes within the market framework, the causes of climate change have to be tackled. These causes are rooted in capitalist relations of production. The solution is not in reforming capitalism and the market, but in generally questioning the global balance of power and soico-economical structures. That is exactly what climate justice means: renunciating the fossil economic framework that is based on continued growth. A system that is based on the exploitation of natural ressources and forces all of us into a system of exploitation.

Climate Justice – the demands of the international network „Climate Justice Now“:
1. Leave fossil fuels in the ground!
2. Return control over natural resources to the people and the society and respect the rights of the indigenous populations!
3. Make agriculture local and sustainable!
4. Accept the ecological and climate debt to the people of the Global South and make equalization payments!
5. No false, market-based solutions, but change of lifestyle and mode of production!

More info on the subject:
Philip Bedall and Martina Austen, in analyse & kritik Nr. 549, “Climate Justice. Bezugspunkt einer Gegenhegemonie oder wolkige Leerformel?”
Till Seidensticker, Niels Spilker, Wasilis von Rauch, in analyse & kritik Nr. 550, “Wer will schon gegen Gerechtigkeit sein? Climate Justice im Elchtest”
Christiane Gerstetter and Ilana Krause, aus analyse & kritik Nr. 551,
“Haltet die Fahne der Gerechtigkeit hoch. Warum es falsch wäre, den Begriff Klimagerechtigkeit aufzugeben”
“Klimagerechtigkeit” Achim Brunnengraber & Kristina Dietz, in “ABC der Alternativen. Von Asthetik des Widerstandes bis Ziviler Ungehorsam” ed. Ulrich Brandt, Bettina Losch & Stefan Thimmel 2007

Stefan Kaufmann & Tadzio Müller “Klimagerechtigkeit” in „Grüner Kapitalismus, Krise,
Klimawandel und kein Ende des Wachstums”, Berlin 2009

Ulrich Brand et al “Contours of Climate Justice”Dag Hammarskjold Foundation, October 2009, No. 6

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