Climate action & Climate justice: Where are we at and what can we do about it?
We’ve all heard about the changing climate and it’s already ongoing and future potential effects on life on earth. Not only that, climate change has been felt unequally in different parts of the world, turning climate justice into a number one issue. What is the current situation, and what can we do about it? Let’s find out.
Where are we at with Climate Action?
Human activities have already caused around 1.1 °C of global warming to date, and impacts are already being felt in every area on earth. We have less than nine years to halve greenhouse gas emissions, and we need to reach net-zero by around half of the century.
Reports after the latest UN Climate Change Conference show that, with the current 2030 targets, we are heading towards a 2.4 °C temperature increase by 2100. That means that most coral reefs will disappear, there could be a multi-metre sea-level rise, and over 1 billion people could suffer from extreme heat stress.
What can we do against Climate change?
Although individual action is crucial, not everybody has the choice to choose sustainable options, and it is only a short-term fix to the problem.
In other words, we need systemic change.
How can we achieve systemic change?
- We should come together and act as a community.
- First, think about small changes, like how your local neighbourhood runs.
- Reach out to your local representative.
- The most important thing is to keep the pressure on those in power.
Climate Justice & Inequality Consequences
Climate change does not affect everyone equally. And that’s where climate justice comes in. Climate Justice addresses the ethical side of climate change, and it primarily focuses on human rights and social inequality.
The main idea of climate justice is that developed countries should redistribute the wealth they gained through fossil fuels to the nations suffering from the consequences.
Low-income countries are the most vulnerable to natural disasters for several reasons:
- They face some of the most frequent weather extremes.
- They have the least resources to adapt to the changes.
- They have the most rapidly expanding population.
What are the unequal effects?
Over one-third of heat-related deaths are already driven by climate change. The fact that developing countries often do not have the sufficient infrastructure to deal with extreme temperatures makes the situation even worse.
Floods and storms:
Due to the warming of the climate, the sea level rises, thus low-lying areas are expected to face floods more often. Tropical areas are the most affected, especially the Asian regions.
Migration and conflict:
Extreme weather conditions can make certain areas inhospitable, forcing people to leave their homes. According to a report by the World Bank, climate change could drive more than 140 million internal climate migrants by 2050. These effects may escalate already existing conflicts to a more extreme level.
The follow-up question is clear: What can we do as individuals to help achieve climate justice? Here are a few aspirational concepts:
- Starting with acknowledging the harm.
- Demanding accountability from the people in power.
- Addressing racism, power, and privilege on systematic and individual levels.
- Prioritising equity & transforming systems with climate justice in mind.
We do not have the luxury of time to keep postponing climate action or climate justice. We do not know when the effects of climate change might come to our door, but what we do know is that we all have the specific amount of power to change that for everyone.