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Climate justice and sustainable
Rayner Mayer
Sciotech Projects and University of Reading
Reading, June
Interactive discussion
Ethics and values relating to
Caring for others
Sharing equitably what the earth provides
Leaving no one behind
Why action is required at local level to limit
climate change
• What are we going to do?
Our lonely planet
Why is our planet unique in our solar system?
Extreme events - flooding in York
Extreme events – shrinking tropical forests
Extreme events – shrinking glaciers
Extreme events - drought
Climate justice (discussion)
• Some areas and some people will be more affected
than others by a changing climate
• Local increases in temperature and/or changes in
rainfall patterns are leading to land not being able
to support life
• People most threatened are NOT those whose
actions have resulted in a changing climate
• Is this climate justice as every country has a right
to exist (article 28, Universal Declaration of Human
Sustainable development
• Tries to reconcile societal, environmental amd
economic objectives in a way ‘that meets the
needs of the present without compromising the
ability of future generations to meet their own
• Obligation of present generation to leave the
world in a fit state for succeeding generations to
• This obligation involves the entire biosphere and
not simply man as an isolated species
Millennium development goals (2000-2015)
• Special session of the UN General Assembly agreed
to promote a set of eight goals in developing
countries to meet human needs
• Targeted interventions together with adequate
resources and political will has resulted in even the
poorest countries making unprecedented progress
• MDGs have saved several millions of lives and
improved living conditions for many more
Outcome of MDGs
• The number of people subject to extreme hunger
and poverty has been halved in the past two
• Child mortality of children under the age of five
has been halved
• Number of people with improved access to clean
water has increased by 1 billion
• 900 million insecticide treated mosquito nets have
been produced resulting in 6 million fewer deaths
of children primarily under the age of five
Beneficiaries of MDGs
Young people who have benefitted from the millennium development goals
(UN Report , Millennium Development Goals, 2015)
Sustainable development goals (2015 – 2030)
• Targeted and successful interventions led world
leaders to agree a new set of goals for the
succeeding 15 years
• Agreed at a special session of the UN General
Assembly on 30 September 2015
• Necessary to involve peoples in all counties and
not merely those in developing countries
• Will need to address resettlement of refugees
whose numbers are increasing partly due to
conflict and partly to environmental degradation
Sustainable development goals (1)
Sustainable development goals (2)
Goal 1. End poverty in all its forms everywhere
Goal 2. End hunger, achieve food security and improved
nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture
Goal 10. Reduce inequality within and among countries
Goal 13. Take urgent action to combat climate change and
its impacts*
Goal 15. Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of
terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat
desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and
halt biodiversity loss
* Acknowledging that the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change is the
primary international, intergovernmental forum for negotiating the global response to climate
Sharing with others (discussion)
• Increasing use of resources is leading to rapid
depletion resulting in
• Increasing rates of environmental pollution to
land, sea and air
• Decreasing biodiversity of species
• Is this our legacy for succeeding generations?
Paris discussion on limiting climate change
• The 21st Conference of the Parties to UNFCCC met
in Paris in December 2015
• Unlike the 1992 ‘Earth’ summit in Rio de Janeiro,
the 195 countries were determined to reach an
agreement which all countries could sign
• The basis of this new agreement is the perception
that climate change could be irreversible such as
melting of the ice caps resulting in rising sea levels
• Realisation that many of the SDGs would not be
attainable without agreement to limit climate
Paris agreement
• To keep the average global temperature rise below
2° C
• Urging parties to pursue efforts to limit
temperature rise to 1.5° C
• Basis of agreement is declared national
• Paris pledges will only keep average global
temperature rises below 2.7° C
• Will review NDCs every five years with a view to
decreasing further emissions from the 2015
Extreme weather events
Increasing incidence of extreme weather events
(National Geographic Magazine November 2015)
Caring for our common home
• Climate change, mass extinction of species and
poisoning the oceans have been unfolding like
slow motion disasters for decades
• Universally damage the lives of the poor for the
benefit of the rich
• Leaving an inhabitable planet to future generations
is first and foremost up to us
Pope Francis, encyclical laudato
Can people be part of the solution?
• Paris agreement is a top down agreement and
Governments should take actions to implement
their nationally declared contributions
• However it is our current lifestyle that is
responsible for environmental pollution and a
changing climate
• What are we as individuals going to do if we care
and share for others?