Climate Justice

What is Climate Justice?

The heart of climate justice is the understanding that the urgent action needed to prevent climate change must be based on community-led solutions and the well-being of local communities, Indigenous Peoples and the global poor, as well as biodiversity and intact ecosystems.

Climate justice is the understanding that we will not be able to stop climate change if we don't change the neo-liberal, corporate-based economy which stops us from achieving sustainable societies. It is the understanding that corporate globalization must be stopped.

The historical responsibility for the vast majority of greenhouse gas emissions lies with the industrialized countries of the Global North. Even though the primary responsibility of the North to reduce emissions has been recognized in the UN Climate Convention, the production and consumption habits of industrialized countries like the United States continue to threaten the survival of humanity and biodiversity globally. It is imperative that the North urgently shifts to a low carbon economy. At the same time, in order to avoid the damaging carbon intensive model of industrialization, countries of the Global South are entitled to resources and technology to make a transition to a low-carbon economy that does not continue to subject them to crushing poverty.

Indigenous Peoples, peasant communities, fisherfolk, and especially women in these communities, have been able to live harmoniously and sustainably with the Earth for millennia. They are now not only the most affected by climate change, but also the most affected by its false solutions, such as agrofuels, mega-dams, genetic modification, tree plantations and carbon offset schemes.

Instead of market-based climate mitigation schemes, the sustainable practices of these peoples and communities should be seen as offering the real solutions to climate change.

Climate justice will never come from corporations or from schemes based on the market, because the market is what got us into this crisis in the first place.




For information on the impacts of climate change on women, please visit:  Women, Gender Equality and Climate Change



Conservation Refugees--Expelled from Paradise

Conservation refugees are people, mostly indigenous people, who are displaced from their traditional homelands to create conservation areas including national parks and biodiversity reserves.

Since the "discovery" of the Yosemite National Park on March 21, 1851, as many as 20 million people have been turned into Conservation refugees.

Conservation Refugees - Expelled from Paradise, is an award-winning documentary by Marketfilm and Friends of People Close to Nature.  It introduces us to some of these refugees and the struggles they now face as displaced peoples.

You can watch the film online at or

It is no secret that millions of native people around the world have been forced off their homelands to make way for oil, mines, timber, and agriculture. But few people realize that the same thing has happened for a cause which is considered by many as much nobler: land and wildlife conservation.

Indigenous peoples evicted from their ancestral homelands, for conservation initiatives, have never been counted; they are not even officially recognised as refugees. The number of people displaced from their traditional homelands is estimated to be close to 20 million. These expelled native peoples have been living sustainable for generations on what can only be reasonably regarded as their ancestral land.



Indigenous Environmental Network

Four Principles for Climate Justice

“Industrialized society must redefine its’ relationship

with the sacredness of Mother Earth”



1.Leave Fossil Fuels in the Ground

Leave the coal in the hole – the oil in the soil – the tar sand in the land. Offshore accidents prove oil and water don’t mix. Climate change is caused by burning fossil fuels. Stop it at the source. Limit people’s consumption. Efficiency is meaningless without sufficiency. The transition to a low-carbon economy is not just about technology but about re-distributing economic and ecological space. In

recognizing the root causes of climate change, people of the world must call upon the industrialized countries and the world to work towards decreasing dependency on fossil fuels. Demand a call for a moratorium on all new exploration for oil, gas and coal as a first step towards the full phase-out of

fossil fuels, without nuclear power, with a just transition to sustainable jobs, energy and environment. 


2. Demand Real and Effective Solutions

End the promotion of false solutions such as carbon trading, carbon offsets, using forests and agriculture as offsets, agro-fuels, carbon storage and sequestration, clean coal technologies, geo- engineering, mega hydro dams and nuclear power. These allow the rich industrialized countries to avoid their responsibility to take major changes. False solutions allow polluting corporations to increase their profits; allow Northern countries to disregard their high levels of consumption and expand production and release of greenhouse gas emissions and conduct “business as usual” practices. Promote a just transition to a low-carbon society that protects people’s rights, jobs and well-being. 


3. Industrialized – Developed Countries take Responsibility

The burden of adjustment to the climate crisis must be borne by those who created it. This means:

  • Demand industrialized countries agree to an amendment to the Kyoto Protocol for the second commitment period from 2013 to 2017 under which developed countries must agree to significant domestic emissions reductions of at least 50% based on 1990 levels, excluding carbon markets or other offset mechanisms that mask the failure of actual reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Based on the principle of historical common but differentiated responsibilities, demand developed countries to commit with quantifiable goals of emission reduction that will allow the return of the concentration of greenhouse gases to 300 parts per million (ppm), limiting the increase in the average world temperature to a maximum of 1 degree Celsius.
  • A minimum of 95% cut in greenhouse gas emissions from industrialized countries by 2050 based on 1990 levels.
  • An end to over-production for over-consumption, and a dramatic reduction in wasteful consumption and production of waste by Northern and Southern elites.
  • Developed countries, assuming their historical responsibility must recognize and honor their climate and ecological debt in all of its dimensions as the basis for a just, effective, and scientific solution to climate change. Restore to developing countries the atmospheric space that is occupied by their greenhouse gas emissions. This implies the decolonization of the atmosphere through the reduction and absorption of their emissions. 
  • Demand financial support from the North to the South to help with the cost of adjusting to the effects of climate change and continuing to develop along sustainable lines and it must be subject to democratic control. 
  • Honor these debts as part of a broader debt to Mother Earth by adopting and implementing the Cochabamba People’s Accord and the proposed Universal Declaration on the Rights of Mother Earth. The focus must not be only on financial compensation, but also on restorative justice, understood as the restitution of integrity to our Mother Earth and all Life.


4. Living in a Good Way on Mother Earth

  • Climate justice calls upon governments, corporations and the peoples of the world to restore, revaluate and strengthen the knowledge, wisdom and ancestral practices of Indigenous Peoples, affirmed in our experiences and the proposal for “Living in a Good Way”, recognizing Mother Earth as a living being with which we have an indivisible, interdependent, complementary and spiritual relationship. 
  • The world must forge a new economic system that restores harmony with nature and among human beings. We can only achieve balance with nature if there is equity among human beings. The capitalist system has imposed upon us a mindset that seeks competition, progress and unlimited growth. This production-consumption regime pursues profits without limit, separating human beings from nature. It establishes a mindset that seeks to dominate nature, turning everything into a commodity: the land, water, air (carbon), forests, agriculture, flora and fauna, biodiversity, genes and even indigenous traditional knowledge. Under capitalism, Mother Earth is turned into nothing more than a source of raw materials. Human beings are seen as consumers and a means of production, that is, persons whose worth is defined by what they have, not by what they are. Humanity is at a crossroads: we can either continue taking the path of capitalism, depredation and death, or take the road of harmony with nature and respect for the Circle of Life.  
  • The “shared vision” for “Long-term Cooperative Action” (UNFCCC Ad Hoc Working Group) must not be reduced in climate change negotiations to defining temperature-increase and greenhouse gas concentration limits in the atmosphere. Rather, it must undertake a balanced, comprehensive series of financial, technological and adaptation measures, measures addressing capacity building, production patterns and consumption, and other essential measures such as recognition of the rights of Mother Earth in order to restore harmony with nature.


~Digging Out the Root Causes of Climate Change – Ending CO2colonalism~

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