Examples of climate Injustice: –
An 85-mile stretch along the Mississippi River between Baton Rouge and New Orleans, Louisiana, hosts the densest concentration of petrochemical companies in the U.S. There have been so many cases of cancer and death in the area that it became known as “Cancer Alley.”
In 2014, the city of Flint, MI, whose population is 56.6 percent Black, decided to draw its drinking water from the polluted Flint River in order to save money until a new pipeline from Lake Huron could be built. Previously the city had brought in treated drinking water from Detroit. Because the river had been used by industry as an illegal waste dump for many years, the water was corrosive, but officials failed to treat it.
Climate Actions & UNFCCC:
- The principles of equity & common but differentiated responsibilities & respective capabilities (CBDR-RC) based on historical responsibilities have been bedrock of climate actions of UNFCCC since 1992.
- The 1997 Kyoto protocol was a historic turning point with legally binding targets for industrialised countries to reduce overall GHG emissions.
- Paris Agreement was a forward march for global communities in climate justice sphere where
- Developed countries pledged to take not only mitigation actions but also deliver & facilitate higher financial commitments & technological regime by 2025.
- While developing countries agreed to take legal obligated domestic mitigation measures & reporting their National Determined Contributions (NDC).
- But the idea of net zero emissions as panacea for climate change evils undermines the basic tenets of UNFCCC & Climate Actions achievements
India & Climate Justice:
- At the Paris COP, with India’s articulation Climate Justice was inscribed in the preamble of the Paris agreement.
- India has been forerunner in introducing Climate sensitivity in domestic policies such as Energy & housing for all, Health & Crop insurances etc that ensure climate justice to the vulnerable worst affected by climate change.
- India became part of climate justice discourse due to its efforts to balance sustainable living & safety nets for poor.
The three aspects of Climate Justice:
- Distributive Justice: Resources distribution based on Principles of Equality, Equity & Merit.
- Global Carbon Space is an important resource of the climate change.
- Despite responsible for large part build up in greenhouse gases by industrialization, Developed nations still continue to corner out larger carbon space for their luxurious consumption.
- While historically, developing countries suffering disproportionately and now under obligation to cut down emissions emitting from basic needs.
- According to Climate action tracker, climate actions undertaken by developed nations are incompatible with Paris Agreement goals, therefore they should focus on ensuring ambitious climate actions to ensure distributive justice.
- Commutative Justice: Truly honouring past climate action commitments.
- Even though second phase Kyoto protocol targets were inadequate & unambitious to meet UNFCCC objectives, but most developed nations backtracked & refused to take targets.
- They even failed to meet their climate finance goal of mobilizing $100 billion by 2020 to support climate actions.
- Fulfillments of the past commitments are critical precursor for enhancement of climate ambitions.
- Corrective Justice: pertains to righting of wrongs.
Way Forward: –
- Developed nations need to repay their climate debt by taking up greater mitigation responsibilities & providing finance & technology for safeguarding developing countries vulnerable & poor population.
- Though developed nations believe that net zero emissions by 2050 is a positive breakthrough in the climate regime, but on the other front it is a step to evade historical responsibilities of developed & transfer burdens on developing.
- It is high time for developing nations, that fought for enshrining principles of equity & CBDR-RC in Paris agreement, rising to the occasion & forcing developed nations to act responsibly.
‘Climate injustice’ is a global problem. How will India be affected by climate injustice? How Himalayan and coastal states of India will be affected by climate change?