Geography of Climate Justice


The Geographical Sciences Committee of the Royal Irish Academy aims to support the development of geographical studies throughout the island of Ireland. Following on from this we are pleased to provide an introductory resource on the geography of climate justice prepared by the Committee (with support from the Mary Robinson Foundation – Climate Justice and the Environmental Protection Agency) for dissemination to geography students across Ireland. The resource is intended for use with transition year students in the Republic and for students from GCSE level upwards in Northern Ireland.

The term climate justice has become widely used to reflect the realisation that climate change is already affecting people differently across the globe. The injustice of this is that people who have contributed least to humanly-induced changes in the climate (those who live in least developed countries and the poorest in every society including Ireland) will pay the highest price in terms of livelihood insecurity. Attaining a more just approach to climate change means ensuring people and the planet are treated fairly in both how we reduce further climate changes and how we adapt to the changes that are now unavoidable.

The resource explains why the geography of climate justice is important using existing research reports and visual maps. It also outlines how climate change is already affecting people differently across the globe by looking at climate change vulnerability in Africa. Some potential ways in which climate justice might be achieved though the transfer of technology and finance from the wealthiest to those who are most vulnerable to climate change are then detailed. Case studies are also provided to illustrate ways in which vulnerable groups are responding to the challenges of climate change. Exercises and actions are included to help students think about their contribution to climate change and how they might support the development of a more just approach to climate change mitigation and adaptation. Finally references and further resources are provided for students and educators who might wish to develop more extensive lesson plans around climate change, development and justice.

The resource is also available for free download here. We hope that you find the resource useful and stimulating.

Professor Anna Davies (Project Leader, RIA Geographical Sciences Committee)
Professor Patrick Duffy (Chair, RIA Geographical Sciences Committee)


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