Those who are suffering most from the climate crisis are those who have contributed to it the least, both in the past and the present. It is therefore not enough to reduce greenhouse gas emissions – we must also combat the social, economic, and political causes of the climate crisis.
Climate justice means that the Global North must be held responsible for the climate crisis. Our prosperity is based on colonisation and the exploitation of people and nature which continues to this day, especially in the countries of the Global South. These countries have contributed far less to the emerging climate crisis than we have but are affected far more severely by its consequences. Moreover, they have far fewer resources to prepare for disasters such as droughts, floods and storms.
The discrepancy between those who are expediting the climate crisis and those who are increasingly suffering from it exists not only between countries but also between inhabitants within the same country.
Richer people tend to contribute more to the climate crisis due to higher consumption, long-distance travel und larger heated homes than low-income earners. At the same time, they can protect themselves more easily from the consequences of climate change, for example by taking out disaster insurance or buying houses in better locations.
To bring about climate justice, the countries of the Global North must therefore pursue a serious, socially responsible and sustainable climate policy. Simultaneously, we must fight injustice in all areas of society, be it gender inequality or any form of discrimination against marginalised groups.
The man-made climate crisis shows clearly that there can be no infinite growth on a finite planet. We must overcome the growth paradigm and replace it with new forms of economy and society that focus on the common good and sustainability. Our actions must be based on a global order that allows a good life for all.
What is meant by Global South and Global North?
“The term Global South is used to describe a social, political and economic position that is disadvantaged in the global system. The Global North, on the other hand, defines a position with advantages.
This distinction refers to the different experiences of colonialism and exploitation, once as primarily profiting and once as primarily exploited. While terms such as “developing countries” express a hierarchical Eurocentric idea of “development” which these countries ought to follow, the terms Global South and Global North attempt to name different political, economic, and cultural positions in the global context.
The division into South and North is not strictly geographical. Australia, for example, like Germany, belongs mostly to the Global North, but there are also people who are part of the Global South in both countries, for example Aboriginal Australians and illegalised persons. Conversely, in countries that are seen as belonging primarily to the Global South there are also people that enjoy the privileged position of the Global North, either because they are white or because they belong to the globally privileged class due to economic resources.”
Definition quoted from glokal, translated by us.