Issues of equity are central to fair and effective solutions to the climate crisis. Not only does climate change disproportionately threaten future generations, but it is also disproportionally affecting the world’s poor and vulnerable on a daily basis.
As was starkly demonstrated over the past year, those in the global South with the least responsibility for causing climate change, and least capacity to withstand its impacts, are bearing the brunt of the droughts, floods, fires and storms that continue to devastate communities.
It is this fundamental injustice that has motivated us both to work towards equitable solutions to climate change, and lead to our interest in the upcoming conference on overcoming barriers to climate justice.
While at law school in Tasmania, we have begun pursuing this goal through the International Justice Initiative. The Initiative provides the opportunity for University of Tasmania law students to pursue public interest law careers and experience the practice of international law and policy making first hand, including opportunities to attend the United Nations climate change negotiations.
While providing poor and vulnerable countries and groups with support, and linking up with others in civil society, six members of the Initiative have travelled internationally to the UN negotiations in recent years.
Through attending these negotiations – which have been playing out since before we were born – we have gained an insight into the power relations at play, why some groups continue to feel a disproportionate burden, and which countries profit from that.
We have witnessed the importance of elevating voices from the global South if we are to achieve a truly global response, and learned about the need to support these countries as they work to simultaneously tackle climate change and meet the hopes and needs of their people.
We have also seen the negotiations provide one critical meeting place and platform for likeminded groups to come together, create networks, and plan next steps forward. Conferences such as Imagining a Different Future can provide similar opportunities to catalyse action for global change that addresses the root causes of climate change to protect present and future generations.
We look forward to learning from the experts and academics in attendance.