Middle East Institute – Climate Injustice? How poorer nations are shouldering the burden of climate change
Climate justice ostensibly addresses the equitable distribution of responsibilities for the burdens of climate change and the fair sharing of the means and resources for its mitigation. In theory, the concept links environmental concerns with social and racial ones, recognizing the disproportionate impact climate change has on people from developing countries, who are least responsible for the havoc wrought by climate change.
In practice, however, that recognition has done very little to direct sufficient assistance to those same developing countries, which bear the brunt of the damage largely on their own. Research shows that the international adaptation finance flows going to developed countries are 5-10 times lower than the estimated needs, and the gap isn’t being closed. To further complicate and embitter matters, developing nations with newly discovered fossil fuel resources are being discouraged from exploiting them but without offers to help them transition to renewable energy sources. A historic agreement on a “loss and damage fund” at last year’s COP27 international climate conference was a good start. But what else is needed to set nations on the path to climate justice? What role do businesses, civil society and multilaterals play?