Just a few years ago, it seemed that ‘Climate Justice’ — the analysis of climate change as an issue of social justice as much as an environmental one — was a concept being recognised only by grassroots community groups, and indigenous rights campaigners on the forefront of community fights against the oil industry. Now more than ever, more mainstream environmental groups are taking up the fight in solidarity with communities already feeling the worst affects of climate change. Friends of the Earth International has focussed their climate change campaign around issues of Environmental Justice, and networks such as Rising Tide and Energy Action within the developed countries are adopting EJ principles and working to ensure that the voices of those most alienated by continued unjust energy policies are heard at the forefront their campaigning work.
Today, though, I read something that surprised me. A paper published in Nature this week by group at University of Wisconsin and reported in The Guardian details what many of us have been saying for a long time — that the impacts of climate change will disproportianately impact those who are both least responsible for causing the problem, and have been most affected by the injustices of the oil production cycle. Given the failure in recent times of the scientific community to stand up for the science of climate change in the face of increasing numbers of oil industry-funded “skeptics”, it’s great to see this kind of important analysis now being published.