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826. Climate Change and Climate Justice

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826. Climate Change and Climate Justice


Day after day, we continue to experience scorching hot weather, with news of heat waves coming in from all over the world. Countries like Greece, Italy, and Spain have been experiencing temperatures over 40°C for days. Even tourism workers in these regions have resorted to strikes due to the extreme heat. The Mediterranean region is one of the areas where global warming is accelerating the most, and research suggests that the combined effects of aerosol reduction and decreasing surface soil moisture are contributing factors to this trend.

On the other hand, the impacts of climate change extend beyond the countries and regions that are major emitters of greenhouse gases. Late developing countries and regions, often referred to as the Global South, which have historically contributed little to emissions, are also experiencing significant negative impacts. These regions include island nations that face the difficulties of rising sea levels, making it difficult for their inhabitants to maintain their livelihoods and even leaving them without viable adaptation options.

The adverse effects of extreme weather events and the destruction of infrastructure, with their associated economic costs, are outstripping the adaptive capacity of many developing countries. As a result, there has been a growing demand for loss and damage (L&D) measures in international climate negotiations. At COP27 in 2022, a fund was established to help vulnerable developing countries cope with the adverse effects of climate change, and discussions on its operation are expected to take place at COP28 in 2023.

A recent paper published in Nature Climate Change argues that while past economic development has brought significant wealth to emitting countries, it has also undermined the world's inclusive wealth in the past, present, and foreseeable future. The study aggregates and analyzes data from 1950 to 2018, suggesting that the private wealth of today's economically prosperous countries has been built on the borrowing of the world's inclusive wealth at the expense of climate change. The paper calls for a historical assessment of responsibility for greenhouse gas emissions.

Another paper published in npj Climate Action argues that there is a spatial disconnect between responsibility for climate change and the implementation of climate action, making it difficult to achieve results. Although the importance of global climate goals is widely recognized and there is international political commitment, the actual actors implementing actions are limited to specific spatial areas. As a result, normative goals and real-world actions may diverge, leading to reduced individual or collective willingness to act. The paper suggests that the discourse on responsibility for climate change should shift from normative and ethical concepts of "how responsibility should be taken" to the practical aspects of "to what extent responsibility can be taken", such as carbon offsetting.

Amidst the growing demand for accelerating climate change mitigation efforts worldwide, the realization of climate change action, taking into account climate justice, is likely to require concrete cooperation in technology and policy in specific contexts.


Rickels, W., Meier, F. & Quaas, M. The historical social cost of fossil and industrial CO2 emissions. Nat. Clim. Chang. 13, 742–747 (2023). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41558-023-01709-1

Moos, T., Arndt, M. Practices of climate responsibility. npj Clim. Action 2, 16 (2023). https://doi.org/10.1038/s44168-023-00044-7


Contributor: IIYAMA Miyuki (Information Program)


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