Climate Justice and Refugees

7 July 2023: Climate Justice Means Migrant Justice

  1. The Intersections of Injustice
  2. Migration and the Climate Crisis
  3. Borders and the Securitisation of the Climate Crisis
  4. The Hostile Environment
  5. Get Involved – Supporting Migrant Justice

The Intersection of Injustice 

The most marginalised communities are on the front line of the climate crisis and often face its worst impacts. Indigenous peoples, small-scale farmers, and communities living in poverty are disproportionately impacted by intersecting multiple global crises. These communities are forcibly displaced & then routinely denied the right to migrate safely. The climate justice movement must centre these communities and foreground their struggles.

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15 September 2022: What is the connection between climate justice and refugees

Storm meets Little Amal at COP 26:
Global News:
United Nations: from 2mins 45:

From the Office of the High Commissioner – Human Rights: Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance

The UN Secretary General, António Guterres, recently warned that the earth is on track to become “unlivable” as a result of the escalating effects of the climate crisis.[1] The reality is that the planet is already “unlivable” for a large portion of the world’s population and, although all inhabitants of the earth are vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, some remain more vulnerable than others. The populations of the Global South, together with racially marginalized groups in the Global North, bear the disproportionate burdens of climate change and environmental degradation.[2] Whereas countries of the Global North are responsible for almost half of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions between 1715-2017,[3] it is projected that the Global South will incur 75-80 per cent of the cost of climate change.[4] Estimates suggest that by 2050, climate change could cause the displacement of 140 million people in sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia and Latin America alone.[5] The latest assessment report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has recognized that “[v]ulnerability of ecosystems and people to climate change differs substantially among and within regions […], driven by patterns of intersecting socio-economic development, unsustainable ocean and land use, inequity, marginalization, historical and ongoing patterns of inequity such as colonialism, and governance.”[6]

This uneven allocation of the burdens of climate change is not random, but historically and spatially produced.[7] It follows persisting patterns of systemic racial discrimination, inequality and marginalization, which are byproducts of the global history of imperialism, slavery, colonialism and racial capitalism. One of the enduring effects of this history has been the creation of a global economic system which relies on the existence of “sacrifice zones,” expendable geographic locations where the inevitable pollution, waste byproduct and environmental degradation caused by our fossil fuel dependent economy can be dumped or exported to.[8] These zones are populated by people who have also been deemed “expendable” in the prevailing global racial hierarchy: racially marginalized groups such as people of African and Asian descent, indigenous peoples, ethnic minorities, migrants and refugees. These groups are subjected to environmental racism; often living at the frontlines of resource extraction zones and toxic dumping sites, exposed to grave environmental and health hazards. The overconsumption and carbon intensive lifestyles of populations in the Global North has been made possible by the existence of sacrifice zones and the ability to export the biproducts of the carbon economy through transnational chains of exploitative labor, production and waste.[9]

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