Thank you to long-time LCWO volunteer and committee member Ruth Mayne for writing the following statements and our Climate Justice Primer,which you can download below.
Low Carbon West Oxford solidarity statement on Black Lives Matter
LCWO trustees and committee abhor racism, discrimination and injustice in all its forms. We are horrified by the death of George Floyd and all other people around the world who have been killed, attacked, or unfairly treated as a result of systemic racism and other forms of injustice.
We also note that in the last two decades, environmental activist murders have doubled, and that Indigenous people represent a disproportionate number of those killed (see e.g. The Conversation 5 August 2019 ‘More than 1,700 activists have been killed this century defending the environment’).
We are committed to a process of seeking to find ways in which we can better understand these injustices and how our work can better contribute to equality and justice for all people. We will share more about our journey over the coming months.
Low Carbon West Oxford Statement on Climate Justice
Why a fair as well as fast transition?
Low Carbon West Oxford believes that the transition to a zero-carbon future must be fair, as well as fast. This is because:
- Those least responsible for climate change – indigenous, black, people of colour, women, youth and low-income communities and countries – often suffer the worst climate impacts without compensation, benefit the least from climate policies, and participate less in decision making processes;
- Those most responsible for the climate crisis – high-income countries, carbon intensive companies and institutions, and wealthy individuals – often do not shoulder their fair share of carbon reduction or costs or externalise the costs onto poor communities.
Practically/strategically: A fair transition will (a) widen action, garner greater public support, reduce potential resistance and (b) generate multiple co-benefits which simultaneously can help reduce poverty, inequality and other injustices (if policies and programmes are designed fairly).
Legally: climate justice is mandated in many international and national legal frameworks.
What would a fair transition look like within the UK?
A fair transition needs means ensuring that climate mitigation policies and programmes:
- Provide marginalised groups affected by the transition with a voice in decision making (procedural justice);
- Ensure a fair distribution of responsibilities, costs and co- benefits of climate action between social groups within, countries, between countries and between generations (distributive justice);
- Protects people’s rights in both (a) the new green economy e.g. protection from land grabs for renewable energy generation and (b) in the old polluting/extractive, economy e.g. safety nets/social protection and re-training for those laid off in carbon intensive sector (distributive justice);
- Recognise and address structural constraints that prevent marginalised groups from engaging and benefiting from climate policies and programmes e.g. by providing financial, practical and technical support (recognition justice);
- Provides compensation for past injustices (corrective justice).
What can LCWO do practically?
To help ensure a fair and fast transition LCWO endeavours to:
- Work in an inclusive manner and ensure that everyone who lives and works in the area has a chance to participate in and benefit from LCWO’s projects;
- Balance efforts to get large emitters to make the biggest and fastest cuts to their carbon emissions with efforts to engage and support lower emitters to reduce their emissions thereby facilitating their access to the potential co-benefits;
- Learn from marginalised/disadvantaged groups about how to achieve a fast and fair transition and share our learning with them and other groups too to help spread fair and effective climate solutions;
- Influence local and national government, business and other institutions to scale up effective and fair climate solutions to the climate crisis and ensure that their policies and practices contribute to both a fair and fast transition.