Jennifer Carman, Leah Ndumi Kioko, Matthew Ballew, Marija Verner, Danning (Leilani) Lu, Joshua Low, Seth Rosenthal, Edward Maibach, John Kotcher, Saad Amer, Jennifer Marlon and Anthony Leiserowitz
Climate justice is an essential component of addressing climate change. The groups and nations that have historically contributed least to the causes of climate change are experiencing the most harm from it. These harms, in turn, often make existing challenges even worse, including those based on personal factors (such as age or health issues) and social factors (such as systemic racism and poverty). Finally, communities that face greater harm are also often excluded from the decision-making process, resulting in climate solutions that can disproportionately benefit people who are less impacted.
The goals of climate justice include reducing the unequal harms of climate change, providing equitable benefits from climate solutions, and involving affected communities in decision-making. Climate justice has become an integral part of the climate movement in the United States and worldwide, and has become part of climate change decision-making and advocacy from the local to the global level, including in the recent negotiations at the 28th United Nations Conference of Parties (COP28). However, many commitments to climate justice remain limited. For example, wealthy nations’ current contributions to the United Nations’ “loss and damage fund” – which will provide aid to those nations most vulnerable and impacted by climate change – will meet less than 0.5% of estimated needs.