Climate Change and Justice: On the road to Copenhagen

Heinrich Böll Foundation
For free
Place of publication
Date of Publication
November 16, 2009
Number of Pages
All rights reserved.


Climate Change and Justice: On the road to Copenhagen

November 16, 2009

Editorial by Barbara Unmüßig


Climate and Justice
  • “We want to found a movement that goes beyond Copenhagen”
    International NGOs on their way to the 15th United Nations Climate Change Conference 
    A brief dossier, compiled by Constanze Weiske
  • On the agenda in Copenhagen
    By Lili Fuhr and Tilman Santarius
  • A marathon: The international climate calendar 2009
  • Hotspots everywhere
    By Marc Engelhardt

Climate and Gender

  • Does climate change hit women harder than men?
    summary of the findings of the Heinrich Böll Foundation’s gender and climate change studies in south africa and mozambique
    By Antonie Nord and Sakhile Koketso
  • Power structures increase women’s vulnerability to climate change
    By Liane Schalatek

Climate and Democracy

Crisis Management for the Future

  • Climate Financing and the World Bank – The IMF and the World Bank to the Rescue?
    By Barbara Unmüßig
  • “We need a world climate bank”
    Interview with dirk messner, director of the German development institute
    By Elisabeth Kiderlen
  • Climate justice vs. a fair deal in Copenhagen
    By Roderick Kefferpütz and Claude Weinber
  • Leadership vs. the skeptics — the us has learned its lesson from Kyoto
    By Arne Jungjohann

Potential Solutions with a Future

  • 100% renewable sources of energy — the next European megaproject
    By Ralf Fücks
  • Front runners of the south
    By Lawrence Pratt, Chen Jiliang and Kimiko Suda, Antonie Nord, Thomas Fatheuer, Ingrid Spiller, Sanjay Vashist and Michael Köberlein, Young-Woo Park and Marc Engelhardt

Voices of Transformation

  • The new power of NGOs
    By Nick Reimer
  • Sound in principle – or fundamentally wrong?
    On the debate over amending or scrapping the Kyoto Protocol in Copenhagen
    By Hanno Böck

In Discussion

  • How fair is fair enough? — two climate concepts compared 

      1. Contraction & Convergence (C&C)
      By Katrin Kraus and Konrad Ott 

      2. Greenhouse Development Rights (GDRs) 
      By Tilman Santarius

On the Road to Copenhagen -
Climate Change and Justice: On the road to Copenhagen
Editor Heinrich Böll Foundation
Place of publication Berlin
Date of publication November 2009
Pages 40
Service charge Free of charge


Climate and Justice

Copenhagen must lead to a breakthrough. That is the consensus of NGOs around the world as they prepare to put pressure on policymakers and delegates of the UN climate conference in preparation for and during the conference itself. Some will be working with climate diplomacy in the conference rooms, others with action and protests. As different as their strategies may be, their goal is the same.

Reputable scientists and governments no longer question the existence of climate change and its consequences. Its effects around the globe are already too obvious. The observation by Dirk Messner of the German Development Institute (DIE) in this journal’s interview can almost pass for conventional wisdom today: “If we do not reach the global turning point with regard to greenhouse gas emissions by 2015 to 2020, the efforts needed to curb them will become so daunting that we will hardly succeed in maintaining the 2°C limit.”

In the face of so much agreement, why is the leap from understanding to taking action so difficult? It is because most industrialized countries have failed to pursue the mitigation of their CO2 output with enough vigor since Kyoto. Because the fossil-fuel lobby still has too much influence over policymakers. Because climate change and its consequences became apparent just when the countries of the global South saw their first glimmer of hope of escaping poverty. Those countries are now insisting that it is their turn to enjoy the blessings of modern industrial societies.

Justice has become a key consideration in climate negotiations. It is not only a topic of discussion between North and South, but also within the European Union as the new members of the EU demand corrective justice – after all, they have already had their fill of deprivations in the past.

What is just? How fair is fair enough? In this issue of Böll.Thema, we compare two concepts – the Greenhouse Development Rights and the Per Capita Approach – that link the worldwide battle against global warming with the alleviation of economic injustice. These concepts raise not only questions of ethics, but also of feasibility and enforceability.

The industrial countries bear double responsibility: not only do they need to take reducing their own CO2 emissions seriously, they are also called upon for the substantial financial and technological transfers needed to put developing and newly industrialized countries onto low-carbon development paths. Programs for adapting to the effects of climate change are also overdue. The choice of institutions to manage the requisite transfer of funds from North to South and the mechanisms needed to ensure that emissions trading does in fact lead to sustainable measures in developing countries are currently the subject of hot debate. This issue of Böll.Thema is a contribution to that discussion.

Attention is only gradually turning to political systems and institutions and their ability to respond to the challenges of climate change. We therefore explore the ways in which climate change and the promotion of democracy can help or hinder one another.

We also address a largely neglected issue: Do the effects of global warming impact women and men differently? Do women and men respond differently to the effects of climate change? And shouldn’t the measures to adapt to climate change therefore make distinctions according to gender?

According to projections, establishing a low-carbon economy worldwide would require annual investments of $500 billion to $1 trillion over the coming decades. That may be a vast sum, but the cost of remaining inactive would be much higher. The transition to a world economy no longer based on fossil fuels will also create new jobs and services. And on closer inspection, many things are already happening in the South – in Costa Rica, South Korea, China, and even Rwanda. We have compiled a brief dossier on the forerunners in the South.

Decisions affecting new rules for the world economy will be made in the near future in a wide range of international forums, such as the next G20 summits. Copenhagen is set to be a milestone in international climate policy. The rules for fairness will be established there and the course set for a low-carbon world econo my. We want to make our contribution toward those goals.

Barbara Unmüßig
President, Heinrich Böll Foundation

Shopping cart

Your shopping Cart is loading …

plus delivery cost / deducting discount / incl/excl. 7% VAT. More information in terms & conditions;