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Climate Justice in Developing Countries

Page history last edited by John McMahon 2 years, 6 months ago


Coastal cities all over the world, in one way or another, will experience the effects of climate change. More specifically, rising sea levels. This will be catastrophic in the future as most scientists have predicted that the cities near the coast will submerge, leaving no trace behind (this fact is a nightmare considering the geological location of Central America). It's obvious to the majority of us that there needs to be some way to counteract this upcoming change in environment or else we're going to make our descendants suffer from the problems we inherited from the previous generation. And so, l will show some examples of the current state of these coastal cities in developing countries so that we can find ways to counteract climate change accordingly with our own sense of justice.


Damning Details 

The first case l will talk about is the rising sea levels is Cambodia and Tanzania. The cause, or the roots, of the climate problem in these two countries is understood by their inhabitants to be deforestation, overpopulation-births and immigration, greenhouse gas emissions, illegal resource extraction, and God's will and transgressing cultural norms. The study conducted there can speak to the broader view of the issue in not only these two countries, but throughout all of the coastal communities as well (Armah et al. 2017). The justice that needs to be considered in the discussions in combating climate change is the kind that takes a look at the moral and ethical standpoint. What’s just and unjust when it comes to what daily activities we are engaging in that are related to the environment in any sort of way? These are the types of questions the people in power should ask themselves. Another thing that deserves attention is the political economic aspect of the issue. In this specific case, the critical political economy is viewed in Pacific atoll country of Kiribati, where rising sea levels has become a politicized (shouldn't be politicized) concern. A study was conducted in the country that sought to expose the flaw politics has in the country that created the predicament before them by interviewing important figures (not politicians, but influential people like decision-makers, policy advisors, scholars, and community elders) in the society. The study's results show that there are flaws in the way the island country is governed, and that policy makers should be more open-minded when it comes to political economic agendas. This is where the sense of justice kicks in: What's right and what's wrong for the coastal environment when making these types of decisions? One final thing that will be pointed out is the solutions in combating rising sea levels. One out of many ways in which we can right against this change of environment is mangroves. In this case, numerous studies have been conducted to describe the important, and often under-appreciated, role that plants play in shaping the trajectory of an ecosystem undergoing change. There's not much of a role justice can play in as it's more of how earth can naturally combat any changes it goes through (whether natural or manmade). However, this is but another example of ways in which we can combat rising sea levels. If we can study not the mangroves, but how it adjusts to climate change, I believe that we can find more ways in which we can counter climate change, not just rising sea levels.


The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)

 The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is an organization composed of multiple states (countries) created by the United Nations to spread the knowledge of human-induced climate change. Created in 1988 by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), it is currently made up of 195 member states. The IPCC provides accurate scientific  information on anthropogenic climate change, including the natural, political, and economic impacts and risks, and possible response options. So in that sense, the organization is made up by efforts to combat rising sea levels in developing countries. The way in which the IPCC goes about creating reports is by systematically reviewing all relevant published literature, rather than research and/or monitoring climate change as it happens. Thousands of scientists and other experts reviews the reports published by the organization, so it is without a shadow of a doubt credible. Governments (including governments in the developing countries) relies on this organization to get an overview of the environmental situation in their area so that those within those governments can counter the change of climate accordingly. Now, in its sixth cycle (the election of the new bureau occurs every 6 to 7 years every since its creation), there have been warnings of inevitable and  irreversible climate change. Along with the catastrophic events happening due to the warming of our planet, this also includes rising sea levels. 



There have been numerous studies in areas all around the coastal world on the current state of the sea levels with the coming of global warming. It's been said that nothing can be done to fight against the rise of sea levels as there is evidence that the damage done to the earth is "irreparable unless drastic action can be taken". While l believe that this statement is true, what l think is equally as important is how we feel seeing the rising sea levels for those that live in Coastal Cities. What is in their eyes just and unjust? That will dictate their actions going forward and will ultimately impact their environment, for the good or for the worse. 



  1) Armah, Frederick Ato; Yengoh, Genesis T; Ung, Mengieng; Luginaah, Isaac; Chuenpagdee, Ratana; Campbell, Gwyn. 2017. “The unusual suspects? Perception of underlying causes of anthropogenic climate change in coastal communities in Cambodia and Tanzania.” Journal of environmental planning and management, Vol.60 (12), p.2150-2173.


  2) Mallin, Marc–Andrej Felix. 2018. "From Sea-Level Rise to Seabed Grabbing: The Political Economy of Climate Change in Kiribati." Marine policy, Vol.97, p.244-252.


  3) Krauss, Ken W; McKee, Karen L; Lovelock, Catherine E; Cahoon, Donald R; Saintilan, Neil; Reef, Ruth; Chen, Luzhen. 2014. "How Mangrove Forests Adjust to Rising Sea Level." The New phytologist, Vol.202 (1), p.19-34.


  4) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intergovernmental_Panel_on_Climate_Change.



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