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      Africa and Climate Justice at COP27 and beyond: impacts and solutions through an interdisciplinary lens

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            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.


            Author and article information

            UCL Open: Environment Preprint
            UCL Press
            25 September 2022
            [1 ] Department of Geography, North-West Wing, University College London, Gower Street, London, WC1E 6BT
            [2 ] Department of Political Science, The School of Public Policy, University College London, The Rubin Building, 29/31 Tavistock Square, London, WC1H 9QU
            [3 ] Institute for Global Health, Institute of Child Health, University College London, 30 Guilford Street, London, WC1N 1EH
            [4 ] Energy & Climate Intelligence Unit, 180 Borough High St, London SE1 1LB
            [5 ] Institute for Global Prosperity, University College London, Maple House, 149 Tottenham Court Road, London, W1T7NF
            [6 ] Department of Science, Technology, Engineering and Public Policy (STEaPP), University College London, United Kingdom
            [7 ] UCL Institute for Sustainable Resources, University College London, 14 Upper Woburn Place, London, WC1H 0NN
            [8 ] Engineering for International Development Centre, Bartlett School of Sustainable Construction, University College London, 1–19 Torrington Place, London WC1E 7HB
            Author notes
            Author information

            This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY) 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/, which permits unrestricted use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

            : 25 September 2022

            Data sharing not applicable to this article as no datasets were generated or analysed during the current study.
            Environmental change,Geography
            Climate Justice,Climate Change,Africa,Sustainable Development,Climate Finance,Gender,Environment,Policy,Energy,Health,Climate,Sustainable development


            Date: 29 March 2023

            Handling Editor: Dr Stephen Blenkinsop

            Editorial decision: Request revision. The Handling Editor requested revisions; the article has been returned to the authors to make this revision with the following additional comments:

            Page 5, change 100 thousand to 100,000

            Page 6, Climate justice is also incorporated in terms of adaptation to climate change frameworks – see Ch 1 of WGII of the Sixth Assessment Report (2022). This could be mentioned here.

            Page 8, I do not see a reference to Figure 1 in the text. Perhaps this could be made in the discussion ‘Framing Climate Justice’? At the moment is seems to sit in a sub-section all of its own (‘Climate Justice at the root of impact’).

            Page 9, seems to seek to redefine vulnerability, a term used widely in the literature, as ‘Simply put, we can no longer see vulnerability as those exposed to natural disasters but how the most marginalised in society are particularly vulnerable to climatic changes.’ I would suggest that vulnerability is still required as a broad definition, used in the literature to assess risk, but the point here should be greater emphasis is needed on the most marginalised groups.

            Page 13, capitalise 6th Assessment Report.

            Page 14, Table 1: I wonder if something more precise could be provided for 5-6C higher. Was this information derived from the 6th Assessment Report? If so, indicate in the caption with citation.

            Page 21, In Figure 2 could you either indicate a source for this data or is this collated from a number of sources, or is this referring to funding from a particular source e.g. UN, or from a range of different funding sources?

            Page 23, states that the language around climate change needs certainty but can you elaborate on the way this is not the case currently. Is it not the case that the language is more certain than the response? The subsequent paragraph suggests it is actions that need attention rather than language.

            Page 26, Figure 3 is not referred to in the text – could a direct link to this be provided at a relevant point.

            2023-03-29 11:41 UTC

            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.

            2022-10-13 12:11 UTC

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