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  • Why would a boom town need charity? Inequities in Saskatchewan’s oil boom and bust May 23, 2018
    When we think of a “boomtown,” we often imagine a formerly sleepy rural town suddenly awash in wealth and economic expansion. It might surprise some to learn that for many municipalities in oil-producing regions in Saskatchewan, the costs of servicing the oil boom can outweigh the benefits. A Prairie Patchwork: Reliance on Oil Industry Philanthropy […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • CCPA's National Office has moved! May 11, 2018
      The week of May 1st, the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives' National Office moved to 141 Laurier Ave W, Suite 1000, Ottawa ON, K1P 5J2. Please note that our phone, fax and general e-mail will remain the same: Telephone: 613-563-1341 | Fax: 613-233-1458 | Email: ccpa@policyalternatives.ca  
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • What are Canada’s energy options in a carbon-constrained world? May 1, 2018
    Canada faces some very difficult choices in maintaining energy security while meeting emissions reduction targets.  A new study by veteran earth scientist David Hughes—published through the Corporate Mapping Project, the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives and the Parkland Institute—is a comprehensive assessment of Canada’s energy systems in light of the need to maintain energy security and […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • The 2018 Living Wage for Metro Vancouver April 25, 2018
    The cost of raising a family in British Columbia increased slightly from 2017 to 2018. A $20.91 hourly wage is needed to cover the costs of raising a family in Metro Vancouver, up from $20.61 per hour in 2017 due to soaring housing costs. This is the hourly wage that two working parents with two young children […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • Mobility pricing must be fair and equitable for all April 12, 2018
    As Metro Vancouver’s population has grown, so have its traffic congestion problems. Whether it’s a long wait to cross a bridge or get on a bus, everyone can relate to the additional time and stress caused by a transportation system under strain. Mobility pricing is seen as a solution to Metro Vancouver’s transportation challenges with […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
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Climate Change, Justice and Fairness

On the intersection between climate change and inequality, Alan Durning of the Sightline Institute nails it in this post:

Climate Fairness

  Earth_in_hands_150

Climate change is a universal menace, threatening hardships for everyone. But it’s not an egalitarian menace: everyone will not suffer equally. Perversely, those people and nations least to blame for causing it are most vulnerable to its impacts.

Climate disruption heaps misfortune on the less fortunate, whether in low-lying Bangladesh, the Ninth Ward of New Orleans, or the flood plains around Chehalis, Washington. In climate change, the less you have, the more you’re likely to lose.

“The division of labor among nations,” wrote historian Eduardo Galeano, “is that some specialize in winning and others in losing.” Those left behind in the global economic race will suffer the most from climate change too. Poor nations with tiny carbon footprints are those most threatened. Hundreds of millions of people in low-lying Bangladesh, island nations such as the Philippines and Indonesia, and drought-prone Africa will bear the brunt. Their homelands will become uninhabitable; unlike better-off people, they lack the wealth to move or adapt.

In Cascadia, too, climate change promises to widen the gap between economic winners and everyone else. Here, it’s working families, particularly in rural areas, who face the worst climate insecurity. Low-income families are most likely to live in flood plains or fire-prone forests. (Or, I should say, if they have a home in the woods, it’s their only home, not a second home). Like Bangladeshi peasants, they’re unlikely to have the means to move to safer ground. What’s more, they are least likely to have health insurance to protect themselves from diseases spreading from the tropics.

Woods workers in British Columbia are already losing jobs from the climate-induced plague of pine beetles laying waste to the forests. Reservation-dwelling Native Americans and First Nations are vulnerable because of their dependence on fisheries, forestry, and agriculture. Immigrant farm laborers—among the poorest workers in Cascadia—also face disproportionate hardship. Dwindling supplies of irrigation water will squeeze harvest jobs, and crop failures from more-variable weather will post “not hiring” signs across farm counties.

This epic injustice gives the lie to the argument that stopping climate change is “just” an environmental issue. Indeed, it makes arresting climate change as much a social priority as an environmental one.

And it argues for climate solutions that are not only efficient and effective but also fair. A certain amount of climate change is already unavoidable. Inevitably, it will punish the blameless. Because climate change takes disproportionately from the poor, we should design our climate solutions to help the poor disproportionately. In other words, climate solutions should make working families and poor nations economically whole.

How to do this? Next time.

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