The message during the UN 2019 Climate Summit in New York this week was clear: climate change is ‘a race we can win, a race we must win’. During this special summit – António Guterres, UN Secretary General, had called on countries to only attend if they really want to make ambitious climate plans – countries were invited to share what measures they are taking to reduce CO2 emissions worldwide.
The days before, our European partner FEPS (Foundation for European Progressive Studies) organised a side-event to discuss progressive and social policy proposals for climate justice. Because, climate transition will not work unless it works for the social majority. We can only win the climate action race with just solutions. As partner of this project, FMS also participated in this event. With many keynote speakers and interesting debates, the discussions gave a lot of food for thought.
UNited for Climate Justice
We need to be united for climate justice, because climate should always include justice. The concept of climate justice links human rights and development to the climate debate, by safeguarding the rights of the most vulnerable and sharing the burdens and benefits of climate change fairly. However, Chair of the Steering Committee, Spanish Minister Teresa Ribera, added that “we are focusing on global approaches to global problems but we are forgetting our responsibilities at home. We want fair societies and not to increase the inequality gaps. Equity does matter.”
Get angry, make it personal
Especially inspiring during the conference, were the key note speeches by Former Irish President Mary Robinson and Edel Moraes from the National Council of Local Communities in Brazil. Robinson advised, with humour, that we need to make it personal, to get angry and to envision a world where we solve climate change. Adding that “climate change is a man-made problem that requires a feminist solution.” A feminist solution, because the feminist movement is a movement calling for equality and equity worldwide. Moraes shared in a very powerful speech her personal stories. “My house, the Amazon, is on fire, due to criminal activities condoned by those who should protect us.” We should come in action, because, “The death or our forest is the death of our livelihood. The death of our forest is the death of all of us.”
Someone else who listened to the advice of Robinson was Greta Thunberg. The sixteen year old girl from Sweden who succeeded in getting millions of people worldwide to strike, and march for their future and the climate. Participants of the conference also joined Greta in New York’s march. Three days later, at the UN Summit, she showed her anger to the rest of the world: “I shouldn’t be standing here. I should be back in school.” She demanded change and real solutions from the world leaders.
The coming year, FEPS and FMS will conduct a further research on climate justice. How can we make sure these people who are affected most by climate change, especially those in developing countries, are heard in our policies? Keep following us to stay up to date on this forthcoming research project.