Guest blog for the “Caribbean Voices for Climate Justice” series by Adelle Thomas, Ph.D., Caribbean Science Lead, Climate Analytics & Senior Fellow, University of The Bahamas
September 28, 2021
Climate justice highlights that the causes and impacts of climate change are neither distributed nor experienced equally and that there are structural, systemic and historical factors that have led to these inequities. Although climate justice has been a key advocacy issue for many years, the term has only recently become recognised in mainstream climate change discussions.
For decades climate change has been framed as a purely environmental or physical problem with relatively straightforward causes and effects: humans emit greenhouse gases, these gases cause global warming and environmental change, a changed environment then affects people.
Attention has thus largely been paid to technical solutions: how can greenhouse gases be reduced, what are basic levels of adaptation that can reduce risks? However, climate justice turns this logic on its head and exposes that the causes and effects of climate change are far more complex and require much more nuanced and inclusive approaches.
But what does climate justice mean for the Caribbean? For this region of colonies and former colonies, of global immigrants and indigenous people, of the very poor and the extremely wealthy, climate justice is a critical lens to understand these differences and how they influence the way in which climate change is experienced.
Photo: Life after Hurricane Dorian part 2. Credit: The Heritage Partners