Climate Justice and Environmental Justice – Two Concepts for One Challenge

Science keeps showing that as the effects of climate change get worse, extreme weather events are hurting developing countries a lot. This is especially true in Africa and Asia.

Over half of Africa’s people would be at risk of not getting enough food if global warming reached 2°C. As it is, we have already reached about 1°C above pre-industrial levels (1850–1900). If things keep going the way they are, global warming is likely to reach 1.5°C between 2030 and 2052.

similarity between climate justice and environmental justice

From 1990 to 2015, the poorest half of the world, which is the most vulnerable to the effects of climate change, was responsible for only 7% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, according to research by Oxfam, an international organization that works to fight poverty. Still, more than half of it is caused by the richest 10% of the world’s people. Since 1751, when the industrial revolution began, the countries that are now the United States and the European Union have been responsible for 47% of the world’s carbon emissions, while all of Africa and South America have only been responsible for 6%.

One of the important examples is Sub-Saharan Africa, which is responsible for less than 1% of global emissions, and will probably suffer the most from the effects of climate change, which has already caused people to move and could soon lead to conflict over dwindling resources.

Definition of Climate Justice

Climate justice is a concept that has turned into a movement to address climate inequality, which is the difference between who is causing the climate crisis and who is paying the most for it. People who want climate justice don’t just want polluting countries to stop doing what they’re doing; they also want them to pay for the damage they’ve done and will continue to do as the effects of what they did in the past are felt on the planet.

“Climate change is happening now and to all of us, No country or community is immune,” said UN Secretary-General António Guterres. “And, as is always the case, the poor and vulnerable are the first to suffer and the worst hit.”

Climate change’s consequences will not be shared evenly or fairly by rich and poor, men and women, or older and younger generations. As a result, there is a growing emphasis on climate justice, which examines the climate situation through a human rights perspective and holds that by working together, we can create a better future for current and future generations.

The concept of climate justice examines the moral dimensions of climate change. Applied ethics, research, and activism employing the term approach anthropogenic climate change as an ethical, legal, and political concern, as opposed to a solely environmental or physical one.

This is accomplished by linking the causes and effects of climate change to conceptions of justice, including environmental and social justice.

Climate justice addresses issues such as equality, human rights, communal rights, and historical climate change obligations. Climate justice activities may incorporate the expanding body of worldwide legal action on climate change challenges.

These disparities in conceptions of climate justice are significant because they have grave ramifications for the countries, regions, and communities on the front lines of climate change’s effects and are becoming increasingly evident in efforts to speed de carbonization. Given the narrowing window for effective actions to avoid the worst impacts of climate change, immediate action is required.

Mary Robinson, the former President of Ireland and the current Chair of the Elders: Climate justice “insists on a shift from a discourse on greenhouse gases and melting ice caps into a civil rights movement with the people and communities most vulnerable to climate impacts at its heart. Stressing the importance of intergenerational partnerships where young people are seen as “means of implementation” and “creators of opportunities” and not just beneficiaries.

there is no planet b

Why Climate Justice?

Multiple definitions of climate justice reflect the fact that the causes and impacts of climate change, as well as attempts to combat it, raise ethical, equity, and rights concerns.

Justice is about justice, equity, impartiality, and doing what is right from a moral standpoint. If something is unfair, unequal, immoral, or excessively biased (particularly against the poor or in favor of the powerful or otherwise privileged), it may be termed unjust. We define climate justice generally as the fairness, equity, and propriety of climate change measures.

There are justice components to the three key areas of climate policy: mitigation (emission reductions), adaptation (impact management), and loss and damage (dealing with the residual adverse impacts after the adoption of mitigation and adaptation). In light of these factors, it is evident that climate change is fundamentally a matter of justice: injustice is at the foundation of its causes, at the heart of its repercussions, and is crucial to the development and implementation of effective policies to minimize the related dangers. “It would not be an exaggeration to say that climate change is swiftly becoming the biggest injustice ever witnessed, experienced, and perpetuated throughout the entirety of human history” (Harris 2019: 13).

What is Environmental Justice?

Most environmental justice movements and intellectual debates intersect on three key ideas or themes:

  1. Anti-racist environmentalism(s) that characterized the 1980s and 1990s, linking demands for social justice and fairness to ecological problems and environmental harms such as pollution;
  2. Demands in the 1990s to recognize the ‘ecological debt’ owed by the North to the South, made by groups such as Acción Ecológica (based in Quito, Ecuador), leading to the Kyoto Protocol;
  3. Demands in 2000 (Bond 2014). According to Pulido, EJ activists are just as concerned with altering the existing power structure as they are with lowering pollution or protecting biodiversity (1996: 29–30).

environmental justice in islam

Environmental justice is a social movement that arose from the desire to ensure that all communities, regardless of color, income, origin, or race, have access to healthy environments. Therefore, there are 17 environmental justice principles. Since then, these concepts have been the foundation of environmental justice.

  1. Affirms that the environment is sacred, that everything on earth is ecologically interconnected and interdependent, and that every species has the right to be free from ecological damage.
  2. Requires that all public policies are based on justice and mutual respect for all individuals, without favoritism or prejudice.
  3. Advocates for the right to use land and renewable resources responsibly, ethically, and in a balanced manner so as to create a sustainable planet for humanity and other living organisms.
  4. Requests universal protection against indiscriminate nuclear testing, the manufacture and disposal of hazardous waste and pollutants, and the testing of nuclear material, which endanger the fundamental right to clean air, water, land, and food.
  5. Confirms every individual’s fundamental right to economic, cultural, political, and environmental autonomy.
  6. Demands an end to the production of toxic wastes and radioactive substances, and holds past and present producers accountable for the people, detoxification, and management of hazardous wastes at the point of production.
  7. Demands the right to participate as equal participants in every decision regarding their environmental surroundings, including the assessment of their requirements based on assessments.
  8. Confirms the right of every worker to a safe and healthy workplace, without having to choose between unemployment and a dangerous source of income. It also affirms that home-based workers have the right to be free from environmental hazards.
  9. Protects the rights of persons harmed by environmental injustice to receive reparations and complete compensation for their injuries, as well as excellent health care.
  10. Considers any environmental injustice perpetrated by the government to be a breach of international law; the United Nations Convention on Genocide and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
  11. Has to recognize a national and legal relationship between regional indigenous and the government via agreements, compacts, and treaties that affirm self-determination and sovereignty planning, implementation, and enforcement.
  12. Confirms the necessity for urban and rural ecological strategies to clear and reconstruct urban and rural areas so that they are in harmony with Nature while preserving and honoring the cultural integrity of communities and ensuring fair access to all available resources.
  13. Calls for the enforcement of the principles of informed consent and an end to the testing and experimentation of medical and reproductive procedures, goods, and vaccines on individuals of color.
  14. . Argues against the damaging actions conducted by big corporations.
  15. Disapproves of the military’s occupation, exploitation, and suppression of land, people, and their many cultures and various forms of life.
  16. Calls for the empowerment of present and future generations to address social and environmental concerns based on current experience and an awareness of diverse cultural viewpoints.
  17. Requires that we make personal and consumer decisions to utilize as little of the earth’s resources as possible and generate as little trash as possible. In order to ensure a healthy world for future generations, we must make the decision to reprioritize and challenge our way of life.


1. Recognize climate change victims

We need to recognize that climate change has victims and give them a day in court. The research recommends that states develop a “model statute on legal remedies for climate change” that can provide access to people directly impacted by climate change. This mostly involves the clarification of procedural regulations. The IBA has already begun writing a model statute of this type as the next stage.

2. Strengthen human rights

For a very long time, it has been evident that climate change threatens human rights. Less obvious has been whether or not courts can apply current law and legal precedent to these offenses. After all, the law was written without the enormity and urgency of climate change in view. However, similar to other violations of human rights, climate change has agents, victims, and injuries. It does not require much legal imagination to make the causal relationship. Politicians, attorneys, and the international community can assist by establishing the connection.

3. Hold businesses accountable

at present, multinational firms can evade carbon accountability in much the same way that they have historically escaped responsibility for human rights crimes caused by subsidiaries and suppliers abroad. As with human rights, simple due diligence is required. The objective must be to ensure that carbon emissions are counted along the whole worldwide supply chain, from sourcing through production, distribution, and retail.

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About Rana Al-Hajaya

Eng. Rana Al-Hajaya is a consultant and climate justice expert. She is a community leader with extensive expertise in municipal government and decentralization who has made notable contributions to political empowerment, gender equality, and community leadership. Rana has a master's degree in Water Resources and Environmental Engineering, a bachelor's degree in civil engineering, and a Professional Diploma from the German Jordanian University specializing in refugee and immigration problems.

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