Climate justice needs to be at the heart of the COP27 negotiations in Sharm El Sheikh. Climate justice is not just a financial transaction to protect the environment. It needs to be seen as the protection of the most vulnerable in society after centuries of resource exploitation. African countries disproportionately face impacts of climate change on their environments, their economies, their resources, and their infrastructure. This leads to greater vulnerability and increased exposure to the negative effects of a changing climate. In this article, we highlight the importance of climate justice and its role within the UN negotiations, and ultimately in concrete action. We discuss current climate impacts across key sectors in the African region, with a focus on health, infrastructure, food and water scarcity, energy, and finance. All sectors are affected by climate change. They are interconnected and under threat. This triggers a ripple effect, where threats in one sector have a knock-on effect on other sectors. We find that the current set of intergovernmental institutions have failed to adequately address climate justice. We also contend that a siloed approach to climate action has proven to be ineffective. As we head towards the next set of negotiations (COP27), this paper argues that the economic and social conditions in Africa can be addressed through financial and collaborative support for adaptation and localised solutions, but that this will only be achieved if climate justice is prioritised by the decision makers. This needs to include a global-scale transition in how climate finance is assessed and accessed. Climate justice underpins real effective and sustainable solutions for climate action in Africa.
Date: 13 October 2022
Handling Editor: Dr Stephen Blenkinsop
This article is a preprint article and has not been peer-reviewed. It is under consideration following submission to UCL Open: Environment for open peer review.