The solution is climate justice – an approach that takes into account different levels of responsibility and privilege and ensures a just transition to a low-carbon economy. This needs to recognise that inequality and exploitation are the root causes of the climate crisis, and in order to tackle it effectively we need to address the systems of oppression that have led us here. This means a global response that redistributes power from the people that have caused the climate crisis to the people that are most impacted by it. Oppression takes many forms and we need to listen to and be led by communities on the frontline of the crisis; the majority of whom are mainly poor, women and/or people of colour.
A just transition will ensure everyone has a decent job paid at a real living wage and workers in fossil fuel-intensive industries will be supported and retrained to work in low-carbon industries. It will retro-fit existing housing stock and build new homes to the highest environmental standards, ensuring everyone has a warm, decent place to live. It will transform land use, reintroducing forests and peat that can act as carbon sinks and changing diets so we can effectively feed everyone with the land and resources we can access responsibly. It will reduce unsustainable levels of consumption by restricting unnecessary waste and ensuring we are using resources to meet everyone’s basic needs as a priority. It will immediately stop subsidising the fossil fuel industry and massive scale up renewable energy production.
Technological solutions to the climate crisis exist – what we need is political leadership to make the changes necessary. This is needed at all levels, from global agreements like the UNFCCC to local council action plans, but it won’t happen unless ordinary citizens demand it. The solution is to organise together and to build a broad, intersectional movement capable of exerting sufficient pressure on political representatives to drive real change and to hold them to account. In order to do this we need to make sure our organising isn’t replicating the same power dynamics that caused the climate crisis.