The current relentless weather in the UK, and consequent flooding causing misery to thousands of people, has brought climate change into the media spotlight. A new Joseph Rowntree Foundation report, with a contribution from CURE’s own Dr Aleksandra Kazmierczak, focuses on climate justice and reviews evidence on which people and places are most vulnerable to climate change in the UK, and whether policy and practice responses have an unfair impact on some communities.
The findings indicate five different forms of climate injustice: lower income and other potentially disadvantaged groups (tenants, older people) contribute least to causing climate change but are likely to be most negatively affected by it. Furthermore, they pay, as a proportion of income, the most towards implementing certain policy responses and benefit least from those policies. Finally, their voices tend to go unheard in decision making.
To reduce the climate injustice, there is a need for more linkages between climate change policy and policies that aims to tackle social vulnerability, poverty and disadvantage. In addition, governance and the policy design process need to change so that those most affected by climate change and climate change policy have more say in shaping responses. However, whilst there are opportunities to tackle climate change and social justice issues at the local level, local authorities need sufficient resources for this purpose and their activities should be coordinated within national frameworks.