History of
Climate Justice

Welcome to the history of the climate justice movement. This topic will tell you how the climate justice movement began and how it has evolved - including some of its key actions and demands.

Outline:

1.     General: History of Climate Justice

2.     Specific: History of Climate Justice

a.     Outcomes of the Climate Justice Summit (2000)

b.     Outcomes of the Earth Summit (2002)

c.     Principles and Analysis of Climate Justice Now! (2007)

d.     COP 15: Copenhagen (2009)

e.     Outcomes of the World People’s Conference (2010) 

f.      BonnClimate talks (2011)

g.     COP 17: Before Durban (2011)

h.     COP 21: Before Paris (2014/2015)

i.      After COP21 (2015)

3.  Emerging climate justice action

Resources

1. General: History of Climate Justice

In section 1, we have recommended that you read a speech and a few scholarly articles - each of which will give you an idea of how the climate justice movement began, identifying the groups and theoretical frameworks from which it evolved. These materials identify that climate justice morphed from the environmental justice movement. They give examples of specific groups actions, demands and influences on climate justice - both on the local and global scale. 

Climate Justice: International Civil Society Perspectives

By Matthew Stilwell
Conference Report
Pages 78-80

This document gives a brief definition of climate justice, its history as a movement and its current form. This document provides an international civil society perspective to the climate justice movement. As a poignant example, it discusses the formation, evolution and demands of the Climate Justice Now group at the UNFCCC negotiations. It also discusses the climate justice groups that evolved outside of the UNFCCC negotiations.

From environmental to climate justice: climate change and the discourse of environmental justice

By David Schlosberg and Lisette B. Collins
Scholarly Article

This article provides a scholarly analysis of the development of the climate justice movement. It contends that the concerns and principles of climate justice is consistent, and has grown out of, the environmental justice movement. It discusses the key concerns and focuses of the climate justice movement, beginning at the grassroots.

Politics of Climate Justice: Paralysis above, movement below

By Professor Patrick Bond
Scholarly article

This scholarly article provides a history and trajectory of the climate justice movement, until 2011. It analyses the demands, strategies, tactics and alliances of the climate justice movement as it then was. It also discusses the different levels on which climate justice operates, from grassroots to global.

2. Specific: History of Climate Justice

In section 2, we delve into the specifics of the history of the climate justice movement. In section 2.a. and 2.b., we begin by looking at the early demands of the climate justice movement. In section 2.c., you can read about the principles underpinning Climate Justice Network - a key group which formed in the UNFCCC climate negotiations, to represent many different stakeholders. In section 2.d., you can read about a key protest at the COP 15, and Bolivia’s submission on climate debt argues that developing nations should be able to be able to develop, adapt and mitigate their emissions with assistance from developed countries. In section 2.e., we have recommended that you read more about the principles of the climate justice movement and climate debt - which was articulated firmly at the World People’s Conference. As further examples, in sections 2.f., 2.g., and 2.h., the recommended texts include statements from climate justice action groups about what they believed the COP should adopt, and a scholar’s perspective on this. Further, in section 2.i., we’ve linked an article which discusses to what extent the current international architecture - the Paris Agreement - reflects climate justice. 

2.a. Outcomes of the Climate Justice Summit (2000)

Alternative Summit Opens with Call for Climate Justice

By CorpWatch

This article details the discussions at the Climate Justice Summit held in 2000, and articulates  concerns and opinions at the beginning of the climate justice movement.

2.b. Outcomes of the Earth Summit (2002)

Bali Principles of Climate Justice

By: International Climate Justice Network including CorpWatch, US, Friends of the Earth International, Greenpeace International, groundwork, South Africa, Indigenous Environmental Network, North America, Indigenous Information Network, Kenya, National Alliance of People's Movements, India, National Fishworkers Forum, India, OilWatch Africa, OilWatch International, Southwest Network for Environmental and Economic Justice, US, Third World Network, Malaysia and World Rainforest Movement, Uruguay

This document lays down a set of principles on climate justice, created by an international coalition of groups at Johannesburg for the Earth Summit. It aims to "put a human face" on climate change by viewing climate change from an environmental justice and human rights perspective.

2.c. Principles and Analysis of Climate Justice Now! (2007)

CLIMATE JUSTICE NOW! PRINCIPLES

By: Climate Justice Now!

The document contains the statement of principles for the Climate Justice Now! (CJN) network, which formed at the Conference of the Parties in Bali 2007. Although CJN has disbanded, this statement of principles is an important representation of the values of the climate justice movement, on the international stage.

2.c. Principles and Analysis of Climate Justice Now! (2007)


A political-economic perspective on climate justice within the alter-globalization movements

By: Professor Patrik Bond
Scholarly article

The article reflects on the formation of Climate Justice Now! and suggests tactics, alliances and strategies which can be used.

2.d. COP 15: Copenhagen (2009)

Articulating Climate Justice in Copenhagen: Antagonism, the Commons, and Solidarity

By: Paul Chatterton, David Featherstone and Paul Routledge
Scholarly article

This article gives a brief history of the protests and actions at Copenhagen UNFCCC Conference of the Parties in December 2009 - a seminal point in the history of the climate justice movement. It looks at how climate justice was articulated through these protests, concluding that there was an emergence of three co-constitutive logics - antagonism, the commons and solidarity.

2.d. COP 15: Copenhagen (2009)

Evaluating developed countries’ historical climate debt to developing countries Submission by Bolivia

By: Bolivia
Submission

This submission by Bolivia at the COP15 requests that developed countries account for the climate debt that they created, under the Kyoto Protocol. In order to do repay their climate debt, Bolivia requests that developing nations should be able to develop and assisted with adaptation and mitigation from developed nations.

2.e. Outcomes of the World People’s Conference (2010)

People’s Agreement

By: World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth
Vision Statement

The World People’s Agreement, articulated at the World People’s Conference on Climate Change, is one of the strongest statements on climate justice. It argues that the capitalist system has pitched Mother Earth and her people against each other. It advocates for a new system based on harmony, equality, peace and solidarity between Mother Earth and her people, satisfaction of the basic necessities for all and the elimination of colonialism. To achieve this systems change, the Agreement places the onus on developed countries to provide funding and technology to assist their mitigation and adaptation to climate change.

2.e. Outcomes of the World People’s Conference (2010)

Final Conclusions working group 8: Climate Debt

By: World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth
Vision Statement

This document is a vision statement created at the World People’s Conference on Climate Change, and states that developed countries owe developing countries a climate debt. This debt involves restoring the climate to its former condition, allowing developing countries to develop and compensating developing countries for losses suffered.

2.e. Outcomes of the World People’s Conference (2010)

Space for Movement? Reflections from Bolivia on climate justice, social movements and the state 

By: Building Bridges Collective
Book

This document discusses what climate justice is, situates the World People’s Conference on Climate Change and analyses key questions for the climate justice movement.

2.f. Bonn Climate talks (2011)

Bonn - the Big Issues

By: ActionAid, Africa Trade Network, Friends of the Earth International, International-Lawyers.org, JS - Asia/Pacific Movement on Debt and Development, Nord Sud XXI, Pan African Climate Justice Alliance, Sustainable Energy & Economy Network, Institute for Policy Studies and What Next Forum
Fact sheet/Policy statement

Before the Bonn climate talks in 2011, the world was on track to reach a 5 degree warming, despite the 2 degree target. 65% of reductions were pledged by the Global South, and only 35% by the Global North. The authors argue that “pledge and review” tactics should not be used, and instead a “top-down”, science-based approach should continue to be used under the Kyoto Protocol.

2.g. COP 17: Before Durban (2011)

Global Campaign to Demand Climate Justice

By: Pambazuka News and African Agenda
Statement of demands

Before the Durban Conference of the Parties in 2011, a global campaign demanding climate justice  began. This document contains their key concerns and demands.

2.g. COP 17: Before Durban (2011)


At Stake in Durban: a Climate Deal for the 1% or the 99%?

By: 
Asian Indigenous Women’s Network, Friends of the Earth EWNI, Friends of the Earth US, Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, International Forum on Globalization, Jubilee South - Asia/Pacific Movement on Debt and Development, Pan African Climate Justice Alliance, Sahabat Alam Malaysia Tebtebba and the
Third World Network (TWN).
Civil Society Analysis

This civil society analysis on the lead up to Durban shows that at this time more developed countries wanted to replace the Kyoto Protocol without binding targets,  whereas developing countries wanted a new treaty to sit alongside the Kyoto Protocol. The analysis argues that a treaty without binding targets represent the interests of industrialised countries, international financial institutions, multinational corporations and elites in Globally Northern countries such as the US. Instead, this analysis argues that developed countries need to implement binding emissions reductions, as well as help developing countries with finance, technology and capacity building.

The Durban Climate Summit (Conference of the Parties 17): Climate justice versus market narratives

By: Professor Patrick Bond
Scholarly article

This scholarly article reflects on the paralysis of negotiations at Bonn in 2011, and predicts the same will occur at the seventeenth Conference of the Parties in Durban. This article provides a glimpse into the history of the climate justice movement, with South Africa as a case study.

2.h. COP 21: Before Paris (2014/2015)

The People’s Test on Climate 2015

By: Brandon Wu
Article

The article details the People’s Test, which was presented to government leaders ahead of the Paris Climate Negotiations. The People’s Test is built from the values of grassroots organisations in poor countries. It demands effective action on climate change and commitments for mitigation and adaptation, in order for the human rights of people in these poor countries to not be affected by climate change.

2.h. COP 21: Before Paris (2014/2015)

Climate Justice Demands - Lima Update #1 - What Type of Climate Deal in Paris?

By: Friends of the Earth EWNI, LDC-Watch, Pan African Climate Justice Alliance, Jubilee South - Asia Pacific Movement on Debt and Development, Friends of the Earth Europe and Third World Network
Fact Sheet

The authors predicted that the Paris Agreement would be one weaker than the Kyoto Protocol, with developed nations making weak commitments to mitigate emissions and to provide finance to assist developing nations to take action. They recommended the developed countries should commit to mitigation, adaptation, finance, technology, capacity and transparency. Once developed countries have committed finance and their own emissions reduction targets, the authors argue that less developed countries will follow.

2.i. After COP21 (2015)

Climate Justice and the International Regime: Before, During and After Paris

By: Dr Chukwumerije Okereke
Scholarly article

This article analyses the impact of climate justice on the Paris Agreement.

3. Emerging climate justice action

Lastly, the history of climate justice is still evolving. You could be part of that history. In section 3, we’ve identified just a few of current actions which could make the history of the climate justice movement. For example, we have linked some important articles on how the school strikes for climate interacts with climate justice. 

Fight for Climate Justice!

Web Page

This link is to the website of the global campaign to demand climate justice. It provides an up-to-date set of ways to fight for climate justice and how to join the movement.

The People’s Demands for Climate Justice

Statement of demands

The document contains ‘the people’s demands for climate justice’. It has been signed by over 295,000 people and 403 organisations; it represents a current statement of demands from a vast array of climate justice organisations.

Climate Justice Alliance and the Green New Deal

By: Climate Justice Alliance
Web Page

The Climate Justice Alliance, formed in 2013, aims to frontline communities and organisations. This Web Page provides an example of their current work, which involves lobbying Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and other Members of Congress who are formulating the ‘Green New Deal’ - a model for a just transition in the US.

Climate Justice

By: Friends of the Earth Europe
Web Page

This web page details what climate justice means to Friends of the Earth Europe, and how they are working towards it.

Climate Justice

By: AYCC
Web Page

This article details what climate justice means in the Australian context, with a particular reference to Indigenous issues.

Global Youth Strikes #1: Climate Justice and Intersectionality

By: Climate Tracker Editor
Article

This article discusses the connection between the youth strikes for climate and climate justice, with regard to intersectionality of different groups.

Students crucial for climate justice

By: Fran Molloy
Article

This article discusses how protest action by students is crucial for progress in climate justice.

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