The United Nations Non-Governmental Liaison Service (UN-NGLS) is an inter-agency programme of the United Nations mandated to promote and develop constructive relations between the United Nations and civil society organizations.
There is little doubt that climate change will lead to unprecedented changes in the natural environment, which will in turn affect the way we live, with potentially dramatic consequences on our health, energy sources and food production systems.
There is also increasing recognition that these impacts are being felt disproportionately by poor people who already live under precarious conditions. Climate change, with its many facets, further exacerbates existing inequalities faced by these vulnerable groups. It threatens to undermine the realization of fundamental rights for many people and to reverse progress made towards the achievement of the internationally agreed development goals, including the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). It is a global justice concern that those who suffer most from climate change have done the least to cause it.
The concept of climate justice acknowledges that because the world’s richest countries have contributed most to the problem, they have a greater obligation to take action and to do so more quickly. However, many fear that whatever international agreement is reached between governments, it will compound the already unjust burden on the poor and vulnerable. A rapidly growing number of social movements and civil society organizations across the world are mobilizing around this climate justice agenda. Citizens from both the South and the North are drawn to this concept, in part, because many are already experiencing the impacts of climate change and they worry about the fate of their families, homes and livelihoods.
Climate Justice for a Changing Planet: A Primer for Policy Makers and NGOs shines a light on the important intersection of equity and justice in the context of the current climate change debate. The book explores climate justice as an emerging concept and as a key to understanding the global debate. The book demonstrates that climate justice is not only an ethical imperative, but also an economic and social one.
Co-authored by Barbara Adams and Gretchen Luchsinger, Climate Justice for a Changing Planet lays out key principles to take the climate justice agenda forward and to ensure that equity is at the core of any response to climate change. It compiles the latest research and analysis from several international organizations and by civil society and highlights the need to address climate simultaneously with the international development agenda, achieving poverty reduction and respecting international human rights. The publication is intended as a starting point to begin reframing the current climate change debate as part of a broader process of people claiming their rights to sustainable development and participation in decisions that affect their lives.
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Nick Dearden and Tim Jones explain the notion of climate debt and its implications for developed and developing countries alike.
Richard Sherman suggests that the Copenhagen agreement needs to be complemented and supported by an integrated global development framework, such as the option for a MDG-influenced set of climate and development goals
Natalia Cardona argues that the right to development must occupy a central place in any initiative or international agreement intended to address climate change. To do otherwise would lead to failure and injustice.