After COP26, renewed focus has been placed on campaigners across the globe calling for “climate reparations” to be given to the Global South by the Global North—but what does this mean?
How can climate reparations play a role in fighting for climate justice and potentially addressing historic injustices committed against the most marginalized members of our societies?
No fear—gal-dem is here to help cut through the noise, with help from five climate activists from across the Global South.
What exactly are climate reparations?
Climate reparations refer to a call for money to be paid by the Global North to the Global South as a means of addressing the historical contributions that the Global North has made (and continues to make) toward climate change. “It is important that the Global North own up to that responsibility of paying what they are due to the Global South,” says Nomhle Senene, a climate activist from South Africa organizing with Fridays for Future MAPA (“most affected people and areas”).
What could climate reparations look like in practice?
There are different forms that climate reparations can take. Mimi Sheller, dean of The Global School at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, has written about a “corrective justice” path, referring to a negotiation between governments internationally.
Under a corrective justice model, the moral responsibility of those most responsible for the climate crisis (the Global North) paying compensation to those least culpable (the Global South) forms the legal basis for payments to be made.
Sheller describes one proposed practical mechanism—an “international compensation commission,” which would receive claims from countries affected and provide money that could be used for things like disaster risk reduction, insurance, and adaptation.
She also outlines a second form, which would involve suing multinational corporations responsible for climate destruction—such as oil companies—under international law, with the money recouped being channeled into similar initiatives as above.
Read the full article about climate reparations by Anita Bhadani at YES! Magazine.
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