What does climate justice mean?
Everyone on earth has the same right of use for the public good “atmosphere”. If the climate on earth shall not warm more than 2 degrees compared to the pre-industrial level, the global greenhouse gas emissions have to decrease by at least 50% until 2050 (towards the reference year 1990), in the Western industrial countries even by 85-90%. The goal has to be an adaption of the per-capita emission to a sustained level.
Climate justice means that according to the polluter-pays-principle those countries carrying the main responsibility for global warming are in charge of globally vouching for consequences and damages of the climate change. Mostly countries of the global South are affected by the effects of the climate change not contributing much to the problem and not having the financial means needed for protection measures and cost of adjustment. Climate justice also comprises generation justice and responsibility for the environment: instead of leaving behind at least evenly good or better environmental conditions, the CO2-intense way of living sends future generations to coping with the climate change consequences hard to calculate and not being able to fall back on a sound environment. The climate change-connected decline of biodiversity in flora and fauna is from the Christian perspective a misdemeanor of man towards his co-responsibility for creation as a whole.
Climate change increases poverty and endangers life
The greenhouse effect destroys natural bases of life, aggravates poverty, undermines development possibilities and intensifies injustice. While energy consumption in the industrial and emerging countries stays on a high level, partly even rises rapidly, around 2.5 billion people on earth have no access to modern energies like e.g. electricity. This deficiency in terms of energy goes hand in hand with financial poverty and poor education and development possibilities. At the same time, poor people are the main victims of climate change i.e. of the industrial and emerging countries’ “over-consumption” of energy. From a Christian-ethic point of view, this development is neither divinely ordained nor is it inevitable fate. This development is the expression of an obvious lack of just behavior of the industrial countries, but also of the increasingly aspiring emerging countries following the western development model, towards the developing countries, following generations and creation. Climate protection is about both: responsibility for God’s creation and human dignity. It is about participation justice on environmental goods and services. It is about giving people of the South and following generations fair development possibilities. (Climate of justice)
Ways to climate justice
The costs for climate protection and adaption to the consequences of climate change have to be shared out internationally according to the UN climate convention’s principle of “shared but differentiated responsibility”. The countries of the global North together with those of the global South have to look for ways out of poverty to permit a life in dignity and fair participation to all mankind. The support of small decentralized climate protection projects in developing countries is as well part of it as financial support, technology transfer and a global emission certificate trade based on per capita emission rights. For this, an agreement on climate protection established in international law, controllable and affiliated with sanctions is needed towards which we should work. You can also contribute on a small scale by trying to develop a sustainable lifestyle and by compensating emissions which cannot be avoided. Our associates support you with a sustainable lifestyle and deliver insight into the topic climate justice, e.g. the information department climate justice of the “Nordkirche” in Hamburg (see collection of links).
Saving and avoiding
It does not suffice to compensate CO2 to avert the severe climate change consequences.
Paths to climate justice
The costs of climate protection and adaptation to the consequences of climate change must be distributed internationally according to the principle of "common but differentiated responsibilities" of the UN Climate Convention. In order to enable all people to live in dignity and to participate fairly, it is necessary for the countries of the global North to seek ways out of poverty with the countries of the global South. Support for small, decentralized climate protection projects in developing countries is just as much a building block for this as financial support, technology transfer and global emissions certificate trading based on equal per capita emissions rights.
At the global level, this requires a climate protection agreement that is anchored in international law, verifiable and linked to sanctions - the Paris Agreement is an important step, but certainly not the last.
A direct contribution can also be made on a small scale, by each person trying to develop a sustainable lifestyle and compensating for emissions that cannot be avoided. The Climate-Collection and its associate houses support you in a sustainable lifestyle and provide further insights into the topic of climate justice, for example, the Infostelle Klimagerechtigkeit of the Nordkirche in Hamburg (see link collection).