Climate Justice

This is the text on “Climate Justice in Europe” agreed by the Friends of the Earth Europe network towards achieving a better common understanding of Climate Justice, and what that means in Europe. It can act as a guide to the issues to frame your testimonials around, and as a source of ideas for the content and people to base your testimonies upon.It is based on the Climate Justice Now! statement on climate justice.

Climate Justice in Europe

The climate crisis

Communities in the Global South as well as low-income communities in the industrialised North have borne the toxic burden of this fossil fuel extraction, transportation and production. Now these communities are facing the worst impacts of climate change – from food shortages to the inundation of whole island nations.
In Europe, the overconsumption of resources is contributing to the climate crisis and increasing social inequality within and between countries. European multinational corporations carry a particular responsibility for causing climate change, and in terms of Europe’s impact elsewhere in the world.

Responsibility for the problem

Inside the global climate negotiations, rich industrialised countries have put unjustifiable pressure on Southern governments to commit to emissions reductions. At the same time, they have refused to live up to their own legal and moral obligations to radically cut emissions and support developing countries’ efforts to reduce emissions and adapt to climate impacts.
The countries of Europe must take their historical, moral and legal responsibility by cutting greenhouse gas emissions across Europe by at least 40% by 2020 (based on 1990 levels) without offsetting. They must also provide adequate and appropriate finances and transfer of clean technology for developing countries. The efforts to repay this climate debt must be shared between European countries in a way that reflects their different responsibilities and capacities to pay.

Opposing false solutions

We will work to expose the false solutions to the climate crisis promoted by these governments, alongside financial institutions and multinational corporations – such as trade liberalisation, privatisation, forest carbon markets, agrofuels and carbon offsetting.
The reliance on offsetting and on carbon markets, taxation policies that increase social injustice, investments in “clean coal” technology, the resurgence of nuclear power, and targets for agrofuel use are false solutions that must be opposed at the local, national and European level. Subsidies for false technological solutions should be ended immediately.

The struggle for climate justice
We will take our struggle forward not just in climate talks, but on the ground and in the streets, to build a movement for climate justice and promote genuine solutions that include:

  • Leaving fossil fuels in the ground and investing instead in appropriate energy- efficiency and safe, clean and community-led renewable energy
  • Radically reducing wasteful consumption, first and foremost in the North, but also by Southern elites
  • Huge financial transfers from North to South, based on the repayment of climate debts and subject to democratic control. The costs of adaptation and mitigation should be paid for by redirecting military budgets, innovative taxes and debt cancellation.
  • Rights-based resource conservation that enforces Indigenous land rights and promotes peoples’ sovereignty over energy, forests, land and water.
  • Sustainable family farming and fishing and peoples’ food sovereignty. We are committed to building a diverse movement locally and globally for a better world.
  • National legislation to set socially just and legally binding targets for the annual reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. Enforcement mechanisms at the national, EU and international level are needed to ensure that these cuts are made, without offsetting or other false solutions, and that reduce emissions in line with science and social justice.
  • Tackling social and economic inequality within Europe and within European countries in a way that ensures the right to access sufficient safe, clean and community-led energy. This requires support for drastic energy savings and efficiency measures, and limiting the power of large energy companies.
  • Legislation in the form of a new international binding instrument, as well as EU and national regulation to protect environmentally displaced persons by ensuring their rights as part of their fundamental right to life. This must be part of a wider acknowledgement of overconsumption in the Global North and historical debt.

Demand Climate Justice!


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  • Friends of the Earth Europe gratefully acknowledges financial assistance from the European Commission, European Climate Foundation and the Oak Foundation. The contents of this website are the sole responsibility

  • of Friends of the Earth Europe and cannot be regarded as reflecting the position of the funders mentioned above. The funders cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information that appears on this website.
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