Climate Justice

Individuals from churches in the Netherlands and beyond are developing a climate justice programme linking north and south. The group is developing common ground in terms of theological and ethical starting points:

  • life is a gift of God, and the atmosphere is a precondition of life, and as such is a gift of God.
  • The atmosphere is a common good which no-one can claim to own, or exploit at the expense of others.

The atmosphere is a system capable of absorbing 12 billion tonnes of CO2 per year, but today we produce 24 billion tonnes, which cause climate change. 12 billion tonnes shared between 6 billion people means every person can emit two tonnes per year. At present, a person in the Netherlands produces on average 10 tonnes. The US produces more than 20. But most developing countries produce hardly any. Economic growth is very high in China, but their emissions per person is still only just over two tonnes per person, the sustainability level. Our wealth is built on burning fossil fuels, but climate change is affecting the poor.

So the aim of this programme is to decrease our emissions towards the sustainable level, through energy saving and renewables; and to compensate for what we cannot do by contributing to the sustainable development of the south. The principle is one of equity, and it is the polluter who needs to change.

The principles behind the programme are that:

  • the earth's riches should be equally shared
  • the polluter should change
  • the polluter should pay - and poor receive the benefit
  • change can only take place when the north and south work together
  • money should go from north to south by right, without conditions attached
  • development in the south should be sustainable, not developing the same problems

The programme will be formed from a coalition of projects. Projects in the north are ones relating to lifestyle change, microrenewables, and so on. Projects in the south relate to sustainable energy, political lobbying, and sustainable development. These projects can be linked.