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  • Kate McInturff Fellowship in Gender Justice September 19, 2018
    The CCPA is pleased to announce the creation of the Kate McInturff Fellowship in Gender Justice.This Fellowship is created to honour the legacy of senior researcher Kate McInturff who passed away in July 2018. Kate was a feminist trailblazer in public policy and gender-based research and achieved national acclaim for researching, writing, and producing CCPA’s […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • The buck-a-beer challenge Ontario deserves September 6, 2018
    Ricardo Tranjan proposes an alternate plan to Doug Ford's buck-a-beer challenge in the Toronto Star.
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • Growing number of professionals face job insecurity, study finds September 6, 2018
    The Toronto Star's Sara Mojtehedzadeh discusses the findings of the CCPA Ontario's report, No Safe Harbour and gathers firsthand accounts from precariously employed professionals who live and work in Ontario.
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • Our Schools/Our Selves: The view from West Virginia September 4, 2018
    Our latests publication, Lesson Here, digs in to the West Viriginia teachers' strike.  Read the firsthand accounts of the work stoppage here.
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • What do the two largest mining disasters in Canada's and Brazil's history have in common? August 20, 2018
    Tailings dam spills at Mount Polley and Mariana: Chronicles of disasters foretold  explores the many parallels between the tailings dam spills at the Mount Polley mine in British Columbia, Canada, and the Samarco mine in Mariana, Minas Gerais, Brazil. The Mount Polley disaster took place in August 2014, when the dam holding toxic waste from […]
    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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