Climate Justice

Climate change, caused by human activity, is threatening the lives and livelihoods of billions of people and the existence of millions of species. Tackling climate change is a matter of social justice requiring urgent and radical action. This page contains resources, facts and articles intended to communicate environmental concerns, share knowledge, and advocate action. As Indian environmental activist and eco-feminist Vandana Shiva has pointed out, 'There can be no ecological security without climate justice. Equity is a precondition for sustainability. We will live together or die together.' 

The following short video explores the links between hunger, nutrition and climate change. It was produced by Irish Aid, the Irish Government's programme for overseas development assistance.

Factual Information

These fact sheets were issued by the David Suzuki Foundation (see links) and are intended to provide an overview of key issues.


The articles above appeared in the 2/2009 issue of WACC's international quarterly journal Media Development on 'Environmental Communication'.

Resources in English

1. Up in smoke? Threats from, and responses to, the impact of global warming on human development
International Institute for Environment and Development (2004)
"This report represents an unprecedented coming together of leading environmental and development organisations with decades of experience working with poor communities across the world. We fear that global warming could threaten attainment of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and even reverse human development achievements."

2. Climate Change
World Council of Churches – Justice, Peace and Creation Team (2005)
"This paper briefly reviews the history of the World Council of Churches’ work on climate change from its inception in 1988 with a special focus on the period since the 8th WCC Assembly in Harare Zimbabwe in 1998. It concludes with lessons learned from the engagement and proposals for next steps beyond the 9th Assembly in Porto Alegre in January 2006."

3. Africa – Up in smoke?
International Institute for Environment and Development (2005)
"This Report finds that concerns about the effects of climate change on rural African societies are more than justified. Climate change is happening, and it is affecting livelihoods that depend on the natural environment, which, in Africa, means nearly everyone. However, even without adequate support, far from being passive victims, people recognise even small changes in climate, and are taking steps to respond to them."

4. Africa – Up in smoke 2 The second report on Africa and global warming
International Institute for Environment and Development (2006)
"Too much or too little rain can be a matter of life or death in Africa. At different times and in different places across the continent, climate change threatens both. This briefing brings up to date the original report from the Working Group on Climate Change and Development, Africa – Up in smoke?"

5. Up in smoke? Latin America and the Caribbean. The threat from climate change to the environment and human development
International Institute for Environment and Development (2006)
"For years, the writing has been on the wall about the impact of climate change on the people, plants, animals, and habitats of Latin America and the Caribbean. Now, day-to-day experiences and eye-witness accounts from leading environmental and development groups are proving predictions to be correct."

6. Whatever the weather. Media attitudes to reporting climate change
PANOS London (2006)
"The media play an important role in stimulating discussion in developing countries. Yet journalists asked by Panos say that the media have a poor understanding of the climate change debate and express little interest in it. Public discussion of the policies and issues involved is urgently needed. This means those engaged in climate change issues must give journalists what they need for a good story."

7. Up in smoke? Asia and the Pacific. The threat from climate change to human development and the environment
International Institute for Environment and Development (2007)
"The human drama of climate change will largely be played out in Asia, where over 60 per cent of the world’s population, around four billion people, live. Over half of those live near the coast, making them directly vulnerable to sea-level rise. Disruption to the region’s water cycle caused by climate change also threatens the security and productivity of the food systems upon which they depend."

8. A right to participate: Securing children’s role in climate change adaptation
Children in a Changing Climate (2008)
"For children all over the world, climate change means the future is far from predictable. Although children in wealthy developed countries are affected, it is children in least developed countries that are most at risk. They are far more likely to be killed or be severely affected by disasters triggered by increasingly unpredictable and severe weather. They are in more danger of being drawn into conflict over scarce national and natural resources."

9. Climate Change and Water
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (2008)
"Observational records and climate projections provide abundant evidence that freshwater resources are vulnerable and have the potential to be strongly impacted by climate change, with wide-ranging consequences for human societies and ecosystems."

10. Climate Justice for a Changing Planet: A Primer for Policy Makers and NGOs
UNCTAD (2009)
"This booklet considers how to move towards a climate justice agenda. Chapter 1 explores international discussions on climate change through an equity lens, and takes a critical look at attempts to mitigate emissions. Chapter 2 examines four major gaps in equity that must be central topics for climate justice policy advocacy. Chapter 3 introduces possible policy directions.

11. Our climate, our children, our responsibility. The implications of climate change for the world’s children
UNICEF (2008)
"Climate change is a global issue. Addressing it is a shared responsibility. Yet it is increasingly apparent that the world’s poorest countries and most vulnerable people will bear the brunt of climate change. Failure to act will render the environments of millions of children and their families even more hazardous. Many poor people already live in fragile climates, where food and clean water are scarce and shelter inadequate – climate change will exacerbate this fragility."

12. The Anatomy of a Silent Crisis
Global Humanitarian Forum (2009)
"This report documents the full impact of climate change on human society worldwide today. It covers in specific detail the most critical areas of the global impact of climate change, namely on food, health, poverty, water, human displacement, and security. The third section of  this report highlights the massive socio-economic implications of those impacts, in particular, that the worst affected are the world’s poorest groups, who cannot be held responsible for the problem."

13. Changing the Flow. Water Movements in Latin America
Food and Water Watch (2009)
"A global uprising is underway to ensure water as a protected part of the global commons. Popular pressure is winning victories, setting precedents and winning inventive guarantees to free or low-cost, accessible, safe water."

14. Women, Gender Equality and Climate Change
UN Women Watch (2009)
"In many of these contexts, women are more vulnerable to the effects of climate change than men— primarily as they constitute the majority of the world’s poor and are more dependent for their livelihood on natural resources that are threatened by climate change. Furthermore, they face social, economic and political barriers that limit their coping capacity."

15. Climate Change in Africa: A Guidebook for Journalists
UNESCO (2013)
"Climate change poses a clear danger to lives and livelihoods across Africa. Journalists there have critical roles to play in explaining the cause and effects of climate change, in describing what countries and communities can do to adapt to the impacts ahead, and in reporting on what governments and companies do, or do not do, to respond to these threats."

16. Guide to Diversity in Environmental Reporting
Society of Environmental Journalists (2013)
"The climate for environmental journalism is changing in more ways than one. Even as we work to tell the story of a natural and technological world in constant flux, we must also respond to a society that is seeing demographic shifts whose impacts we can never fully anticipate."

17. Climate Justice: Equity and Justice Informing a New Climate Agreement
World Resources Institute / Mary Robinson Foundation (2013)
"This paper explores the role of equity in the climate negotiations. It establishes why climate change is an issue of injustice by examining the environmental challenges posed by climate change and links those challenges to socio-ecological and economic systems that undermine the rights of people, especially the poor, marginalized, and vulnerable."

18. Position Paper: Human Rights and Climate Justice
Mary Robinson Foundation (2014)
"It is imperative that any action to address climate change should not further undermine human rights, but protect and respect them. This can be achieved with a climate justice approach: 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."

19. Calling for Climate Justice
Christian Aid (2014)
"Climate justice is a life or death issue. Not a niche concern, but an issue of justice. People's lives are at stake."

20. Religions for Climate Justice. International Interfaith Statements 2008-2014
Globethics (2014)
"Religious and faith communities on all continents have been committed to life and climate justice for many years... In this publication, nine international and interfaith statements issued from 2008 to September 2014 are brought together in one volume. They are mainly statements addressed to the annual COPs."

21. Climate Justice and Women’s Rights: A Guide to Supporting Grassroots Women’s Action
Global Greengrants Fund (2015)
"There is an urgent need around the world to ensure women at the local level have adequate information, support for their own solutions and priorities, rights to natural resources and a voice at the table where climate policy is discussed."

22. Paths Beyond Paris: Movements, Action and Solidarity towards Climate Justice
Carbon Trade Watch (2015)
"These short, sharp articles highlight years of struggle, passion and commitment towards environmental, social and climate justice. The writings are contributions from committed activists, researchers, scholars, feminists and thinkers who participate with wide networks of dynamic peoples and groups. They continue to push the limits in the quest towards global justice."

23. Outcomes of the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Paris
Centre for Climate and Energy Solutions (2015)
"Parties to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change reached a landmark agreement on 12 December 2015 in Paris, charting a fundamentally new course in the two-decade-old global climate effort."

Recursos en español

Cambio climático: Seguridad alimentaria, agua & protección de bosques (2010)

Agricultura y ganadería a gran escala afectan equilibrio ecológico.

Cambio Climático: Resumen del Informe de Evaluación 2007 del IPCC

El calentamiento del planeta ya está teniendo muchas consecuencias medibles y en el futuro se esperan cambios costosos y de gran envergadura. ¿Cómo podemos adaptarnos a estos cambios o limitar su extensión? Los últimos descubrimientos del IPCC nos ofrecen algunas respuestas al respecto. Resumen realizado por GreenFacts (organización independiente sin ánimo de lucro que publica en línea resúmenes fieles, revisados por expertos independientes, de documentos de consenso científico.)

Cambio colaborativo (2010)

Asuntos ineludibles como el cambio climático y la seguridad alimentaria requieren de enfoques multidisciplinarios así como de la participación de múltiples actores en procesos de aprendizaje social para alcanzar modos de vida adaptativos. Esto implica una demanda creciente de información, conocimientos y participación, que evidencia la necesidad de planificar actividades de comunicación como eje de las iniciativas de desarrollo.

Clima, pobreza y justicia

El cambio climático representa la mayor amenaza para el desarrollo humano. Pero el avance en el objetivo de limitar el calentamiento por debajo de los 2ºC ha sido hasta ahora insuficiente. El esfuerzo global necesario para reducir las emisiones y apoyar a las personas más pobres y vulnerables en su adaptación a los cambios inevitables debe basarse en indicadores objetivos de la responsabilidad histórica de los países en causar la crisis y de su capacidad para enfrentarse a ella. (Informe de Oxfam Internacional, 2008).

¿Con el agua hasta el cuello?

Este informe (IIED/NEF, Octubre de 2004) constituye un evento sin precedentes que reúne las principales organizaciones medioambientales y de desarrollo con décadas de experiencia en el trabajo con las comunidades pobres en todo el mundo. Nuestro temor es que el calentamiento global pueda amenazar el logro de las Metas de Desarrollo del Milenio (MDM) y aún echar a perder los logros hasta el momento alcanzados en el desarrollo humano.


¿Con el agua hasta el cuello? América Latina y el Caribe

Este reporte (2006) confirma que la temperatura y los patrones pluviales, hasta ahora en su mayoría regulares y predecibles, están cambiando y volviéndose menos predecibles y a menudo más extremos. Basándonos en las experiencias de agencias asociadas y de gente con la que trabajan en la región, este reporte cataloga los impactos relacionados tanto con el cambio climático como con la degradación ambiental.

Calentamiento global: Nuevos enfoques periodísticos 

por Diana Cazaux
¿Qué es ser periodista ambiental en el contexto de una ausencia de comunicación objetiva, neutral o completa? Catorce consejos para reducir el cambio climático.

Medios de comunicación no profundizan en causas del cambio climático

Los medios de comunicación insisten en temas como "reciclar, plantar un árbol, pero no insisten en las causas del cambio climático", expresó el sacerdote católico Marco Arana (Perú), al exponer en la mesa de debate "Ecología, Poder y Medios de Comunicación". El sacerdote cuestionó que "los medios de comunicación aparecen amenguados" y que solo se limitan a emitir "mensajes que señalan que los graves problemas de la crisis ecológica son responsabilidad de todos", pero que no profundizan en las causas del cambio climático.



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