The philosophical question of climate change is this: Who among us deserves the biggest punishment for the fate of our planet? Unlike many things in philosophy this question has no answer. But if we take a keen look at it, the question conceptualizes a particular aspect that is of grave significance for our future as a species: Climate Justice.
To be honest, the biggest cause of global warming has been our evolution. Mankind has evolved from being the cave people who did not even possess vocabulary to communicate with one another to what we are today as a species on this planet. We have computers, internet, and even robots. We have industries, jobs, and we even fly. We have walked on the moon and explored the space and are already making plans to set foot on other planets. This is a collective achievement of all of us and we take pride in it. But while we were busy reaching here, we forgot to think of something that is fundamental to all of us: our home, the earth.
As we started to walk on the streets of evolution, our perspectives towards our surroundings have slowly began to change. We have quietly put the environmental concerns to backseat and rode ahead towards becoming better and intelligent as a species. But now the situation has turned. The ground under our feet is cracking. It’s creating crevices that can swallow us as a whole.
Not all of us are going to face this doom equally, because we are from different countries and from different standards of living. And that is just not fair.
The effect of global warming is going to be most impactful on the least privileged people in the world. And they surely do not deserve it. Glaciers have started to melt in the polar region resulting in the flow of additional water into seas and oceans. This is going to raise the sea levels immensely in the coming decades. The first ones to face the consequences are the people who live on the islands like Java, Sumatra, Maldives and etc. Their homes will be consumed and their fates casted away by the deep blue seas. They will have to go in search of new places to dwell. They will be left with no homes and thus turn into environmental refugees.
Within the third world countries like India, the effects of changing climate will be felt on a completely different scale. With temperatures soaring up each year, people who are living in the not-so-well-equipped homes, meaning houses without air conditioned bedrooms and spacious living rooms, will face greater struggles — just because they can’t afford these luxuries.
The planet also belongs to the under privileged, and yet they will be left with no other option than to struggle more and experience the consequences of climate change on a much larger level than their rich counterparts.
On the charts of carbon emissions, China and India stand first and fourth, which is understandable given the countries’ population count. But the US, the country which has only 23% of the population compared to China and only 25% when compared to India, stands second in polluting earth’s climate by releasing carbon into the atmosphere. This is also the case with many other developed nations that have lesser population but are consuming higher resources than other countries with larger population. The amount of natural resources that are being consumed in the world is having a large scale impact on the global temperatures.
So, even with the increasing surface temperatures, the citizens of developed countries will continue to have ample resources and comfort while the same raising temperatures would potentially devastate the lives of people in various lesser privileged countries. This is the primary reason for having a justice system that serves the world equally in the concerns of climate change.
Mankind as a species should be entitled to equal rights towards Nature, but the current situation is only opposite to it. Such a divide not only builds walls between people of different nations but also causes greater political conflicts in the name of survival and sustenance. If we continue like this, the temperatures of our planet would reach a disastrous scale. And eventually when all hell breaks loose between countries, we will only end up with fingers pointing at one another about who should take responsibility for this doom.
Hence, we need a system in place to tackle the arguments of global climate change debate that sees no end. Climate Justice could be the sustainable solution to the most significant situation Mankind has ever faced.