by Bharat Dogra
Frontier | July 17, 2017
Through all known human history justice and equality have been the most relevant issues. However now that issues of irreversible ecological threats which pose a survival crisis to human beings as well as other forms of life have emerged , some deeply concerned persons tend to give more importance to such fast emerging issues. These issues include climate change as well as other related issues.
However this does not mean that the importance of justice related issues has diminished ; rather what needs to be emphasized and explored is that issues like climate changes should be understood within a framework of justice so that the two most important issues should be closely linked to each other.
This relationship had in fact been initiated at an early stage of the climate change debate by developing countries highlighting the special historical responsibility of developed industrial countries for increasing greenhouse gas emissions and on this basis demanding that the developed countries should make available substantial funds to developing countries, particularly island countries and poorest countries, for enabling them to adapt to and prepare for climate change.
Although some developed countries particularly the USA tried to wriggle out of this responsibility the developing countries were on the whole able to make a strong case for their well-justified demand. Till recently agreement had been reached for developed countries to contribute to such a Green Climate Fund in such a way that the Fund could increase to $100 billion a year by the year 2020.
While such an agreement was certainly reached, it was noticed that actual transfers were very small so that the high hopes reposed in this Fund at one time began to diminish. Later with Trump becoming the President of the US, this country appeared to be in even less prepared than before for accepting even a part of its historical responsibility.
Despite diminished hopes from existing agreements, the well justified demand for large scale transfer of special climate change funds from rich to poor countries should nevertheless be pursued with more vigor but for this to be effective greater unity between developing countries is badly needed.
There is another aspect to linking justice to climate change and this relates to national level policies. Within various countries some areas are likely to be more affected by climate change and weaker sections of people are likely to be worst affected.
So there is need for making available more resources for such areas and for these various weaker sections so that they can be better prepared to face climate change and its various manifestations and impacts. Hence the case for more equality and justice based policies has become much stronger in times of climate change.