International Climate Justice

Climate change and the risk of irreversible environmental damage is one of the greatest challenges we face.  It impacts on a variety of human rights and fundamental freedoms. It has immeasurable consequences of the right to life, right to health, right to housing, freedom from poverty, right to access clean water and is likely to cause catastrophic internal and external displacement. Climate change and our response to the challenges we face have a disproportionate impact on the poor and marginalised. It has disproportionate impact on women, children and the elderly and is a greater threat in certain parts of the world already at risk through poverty, conflict and the absence of sustainable economic and environmental stability.

 

Climate Justice is a term used to define the phenomenon of environmental damage as a result of global warming as an ethical, political, legal issue.  It has moved from being a purely environmental or physical issue to one that requires a coordinated response taking account of fundamental concepts such as environmental and social justice and the impact on universally accepted basic rights such as equality, individual and societal rights, and access to justice.

 

It is a notable concern that those who bear the gravest responsibility for damage to the environment and the ensuing climate change, are the least likely to suffer from its gravest consequences.  It is those that bear little or responsibility who will suffer the greatest.

 

Law as a response is a relatively recent phenomenon to what is a mounting crisis.  The term Climate Justice is now used as a term to denote legal action taken in response to climate change and political posturing on the risk to the environment.  In 2018, the youth movement for climate change inspired a global political movement that has intensified and resulted in legal action seeking to hold governments and the corporate world accountable.

 

Climate Justice litigation has not reached the level required to bring about fundamental change and is not sufficiently widespread to prompt a global change in policy.  

 

It remains very much a Global North created problem with devastating impact on the Global South.  It requires a fundamental rethink of policies and sanctions.  Guernica seeks to explore high impact solutions in the private and public law sectors including enhancing corporate responsibility, targeting deforestation policies, reducing fossil fuel and ‘dirty energy’, using innovative and creative legal strategies to push the climate justice agenda by using the existing legal framework but also working with the scientific industry and civil society to ensure a social mobilisation movement.

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