The climate is changing, human activities are contributing to this and the impacts are already being felt by people, plants and animals across the globe. However, the impacts of climate change are not evenly distributed. The poorest countries and the most vulnerable people within them, particularly those whose economies are dependent on agriculture, will be most affected despite having contributed least to climate change.  
Geography of Climate Justice – An Introductory Resource 2011

1/3 of people in Africa live in drought prone regions

Central and South Asia, crop yields are expected to reduce by 30% in the years ahead

By the 2050s, 50% of agricultural lands are very likely to be subjected to desertification and salinization in some areas of Latin America

Studies have projected that 3% of Cuba’s mangrove forests may be lost with a one meter rise in sea level

We need to come together and work to achieve Climate Justice.
Your time is now!

What you can do?

Join the #YouthClimateJustice Challenge! The Youth Climate Justice Challenge is a partnership of 6 youth organisations, led by ECO-UNESCO.  It is aimed at encouraging and empowering young people to take on local action projects on Climate Justice.

Our goal is to give young people a platform to have their voices heard on this important topic. Groups of young people will be engaged, educated, encouraged and empowered to take action on climate justice! They will raise awareness of Climate Justice through their own Action Projects, and through direct work with their communities and local policymakers.

Through the Youth Climate Justice Challenge we are:

  • Providing Capacity building workshops for both young people & youth workers. This will include workshops on climate justice, action project planning and implementation and film making. The workshops will provide a framework under which young people can decide upon, plan and undertake action on a Climate Justice topic they feel strongly about.
  • Rolling out a Week of Youth Action on Climate Justice with a series of online and face to face talks (where possible), workshops, films and an opportunity for young people to highlight their work.
  • Developing resource materials to allow groups of young people to act locally.
  • Running the Youth Climate Survey – and want to hear from young people and garner young peoples opinions more broadly on climate justice including barriers and opportunities for young peoples engagement and to get young peoples views on ‘What is the world they want to create?’
  • You will also have an opportunity to attend the Outcomes Conference, ‘by youth’ and ‘for youth’, convened by DCYA. This showcase event will enable young people and youth workers involved in the projects to present what outcomes you achieved.  A date for the Outcomes Conference is to be decided but it would be expected to take place at the end of Q4 2020.

 

Climate Change

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) state that ; ‘Most of the observed increase in global average temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic (produced by humans) greenhouse gas emissions’

According to the EPA IrelandClimate change means a significant change in the measures of climate, such as temperature, rainfall, or wind, lasting for an extended period – decades or longer. The Earth’s climate has changed many times during the planet’s history, with events ranging from ice ages to long periods of warmth. 

What’s different about this period of the earth’s history is that human activities are significantly contributing to natural climate change through our emissions of greenhouse gases. This interference is resulting in increased air and ocean temperatures, drought, melting ice and snow, rising sea levels, increased rainfall, flooding and other influences.

However, the current global aim is to tackle climate change resulting from human activities whose greenhouse gas emissions are changing the composition of the earth’s atmosphere.

Examples of human activities contributing to climate change include;

  • Carbon dioxide emissions through burning fossil fuels such as coal, oil and gas and peat
  • Methane and nitrous oxide emissions from agriculture
  •  Emissions through land use changes such as deforestation, reforestation, urbanization, desertification,

These emissions that are changing the composition of the earths atmosphere are termed*

*the Greenhouse effect.

Justice

Justice is generally understood to mean that which is right, fair, appropriate or deserved, with justice being achieved when an unjust act is redressed. Within the context of climate change this means that the poorest countries and people should be supported by those who have contributed most to climate change.

What is Climate Justice?

According to the Department of Children and Youth Affairs, Climate change is deeply inequitable. Climate change is already depriving some individuals and communities of their fundamental basic human rights, such as access to food and clean drinking water, and threatens the very existence of whole communities and nations. Those who have contributed least to carbon emissions often suffer the most.

This has given rise to the concept of climate justice which frames global warming as an ethical and political issue rather than one which is purely environmental or physical in nature.

The Mary Robinson Foundation – Climate Justice states that ‘climate justice links human rights and development to achieve a human-centred approach, safeguarding the rights of the most vulnerable and sharing the burdens and benefits of climate change and its resolution equitably and fairly’.

Essentially, climate justice means trying to ensure that people and the planet are treated fairly in the ways in which we: a) try to reduce further climate changes, for example by cutting down the amount of fossil fuels we burn to produce energy (known as mitigation); and b) adapt to the changes we have brought about in the climate, for example by developing crops that are resistant to droughts where rainfall levels have dropped as a result of climate change (known as adaptation).

A report from the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Climate Action stated that transitioning to a decarbonised society in a manner that is just and fair to all sectors of society can be referred to as a ‘just transition’, and this is seen as part of the climate justice approach.

 The International Labour Organisation (ILO) defines just transition in terms of social, environmental and economic justice in the following way:

“Transitions to environmentally and socially sustainable economies can become a strong driver of job creation, job upgrading, social justice and poverty eradication”

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