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Climate Justice: Working for a solution to climate change that is fair to all.

Our common global challenge

“People everywhere deserve not to suffer because of climate change. People everywhere deserve a future for their children. People everywhere deserve to have leaders who find the courage to achieve a solution to this crisis.”
Kofi Annan

Climate justice means ensuring that people everywhere are safe from danger and free from suffering due to climate change.


Those most vulnerable to climate change today are the world’s poorest, since they lack the resources and means to cope with the impacts of global warming. It is a clear injustice that they suffer the brunt of the impact of climate change without any responsibility for having caused it. Ninety-nine percent of the casualties due to climate change occur in developing countries, but 50 of the world’s least developed nations account for less than 1 percent of greenhouse gas emissions that are its main cause.



Ensuring the poor can live in safety means providing them substantial support, a responsibility that falls to major polluters. Ultimately, however, people everywhere are vulnerable to climate change – around 4 billion people in total. Unless we all take action, young people around the world today will be forced to live out their lives in danger. Urgent action is essential to do justice to the basic needs of all people.

The Forum first engaged with the topic of climate justice as the opening debate of its first main annual event, the 2008 Forum. Entitled “Climate Justice in a Shared Global Ecosphere”, and chaired by Mary Robinson, the debate concluded with a call for an alliance of leading people that could advocate for a just response to climate change. Kofi Annan announced his conviction to establish a Global Alliance for Climate Justice at the closure of the event. 


The Forum has since worked together with key public figures and civil society organizations to establish the foundations of this Alliance. It is our hope that it will ultimately come to involve anybody concerned by climate justice and willing to promote its cause.

The Forum also brought together an expert working group to develop a set of simple Climate Justice Guidelines. These Guidelines were the subject of the high-level Climate Justice Dialogue the Forum hosted together with the University of Pretoria in South Africa in February 2009. The Guidelines have since been updated to “Key Points on Climate Justice.”
(pdf, 2.51MB)

Our work in 2009 was focused on the negotiations leading to the UN Climate Conference in Copenhagen. The summit aimed for (but did not reach) agreement on a replacement for the Kyoto Protocol, whose main provisions expire in 2012. The Global Humanitarian Forum's position was that the summit, while disappointing, showed promise for the future in the willingness of millions of people to become engaged on the issue. Climate change is a complex and difficult problem to solve and will require an intense effort for years to come.


In 2009 we developed a comprehensive global campaign for climate justice. The Forum worked together with the major communications firm Euro RSCG to raise global awareness and trigger mass support. We also collaborated closely with Oxfam, Greenpeace, WWF, Avaaz,, the World Council of Churches, the Global Campaign for Climate Action, and other civil society partners.

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