Protecting the most vulnerable while working for climate justice

New study introduces mutuality, solidarity, accountability and financial transparency as principles for climate justice 

(LWI) How is it possible to take into account the well-being and protection of creation,  and of the poorest and most vulnerable people in developing countries, as we address climate change, asks a new study from The Lutheran World Federation (LWF), Bread for the World, ACT Alliance, and the World Council of Churches. 

A known injustice of climate change is that the world’s poorest countries, which have done the least to cause the climate crisis, are often impacted the hardest. This can cause further vulnerability, poverty and debt, and mitigating this is a priority when we address climate change.

The study, titled “Climate Finance for Addressing Loss and Damage. How to Mobilize Support for Developing Countries to Tackle Loss and Damage,” comes at a time when the world is mobilizing the COP25 climate conference taking place in Madrid, 2-13 December. It is a contribution to the global discussions on loss and damage finance that highlights the needs of the most vulnerable and the responsibility of polluters at the same time.  

“Our faith-based humanitarian and development work, as well as our continuous interaction with, and presence in, communities through our churches and partners, enable us to provide important facts and bear witness to the urgent need for loss and damage finances,” write Rev. Dr Martin Junge, General Secretary, The Lutheran World Federation, Rev. Dr Cornelia Füllkrug-Weitzel President, Bread for the World, Rudelmar Bueno de Faria, General Secretary, ACT Alliance, and Rev. Dr. Olav Fykse Tveit, General Secretary, World Council of Churches, in the preface. 

Elena Cedillo, LWF Program Executive for Climate Justice, is one of the editors of the study. She said that during COP25 the performance of the Warsaw International Mechanism (WIM) for loss and damage would be reviewed. “It will be vital to pay attention to how it has enhanced the action for addressing loss and damage associated with the impacts of climate change.” She added that further thought is needed on how this can be strengthened, including a possible establishment of a task force on loss and damage finance.

Four principles for climate justice 

“Climate Finance for Addressing Loss and Damage” introduces four key principles for climate justice and for addressing loss and damage because of climate change: 

  • mutuality, e.g. pooling and sharing among those affected, 
  • solidarity, e.g. leaving no one behind, 
  • accountability, e.g. meeting human rights standards, and 
  • transparency, e.g. participation and empowerment.  

It offers systematic analysis in order to come at sustainable solutions. 

The study concludes with a number of concrete recommendations, that include adopting “human rights-based approach” by all mechanisms that contribute to financially addressing loss and damage, exploring the levying of a general carbon tax at national levels, and the establishment of a “Global Solidarity Fund to address loss and damage.”  

You can read the full study here.