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Open Access and Climate Justice: What is Climate Justice?

A guide created on the occasion of the Open Access Week 2022 themed "Open for Climate Justice" promoting open access educational and scholarly resources on climate change and climate justice.

Climate Justice: Definition


What is Climate Justice?

Climate Justice refers to the fair and equitable distribution of the benefits and burdens of climate change among the global population and generations.

Disproportionality between causality and burden includes that the emissions of the richest 1% of the global population account for more than twice the combined share of the poorest 50%. While people and nations most affected by climate change are among the least responsible for it.

In regards to intergenerational equity, the emissions produced by any given generation can inflict damage on one or more future generations, causing climate change to be progressively more threatening to the affected generations than the responsible ones.


For a brief exploration of the history and core values behind the Climate Justice movement, check out this video by the National Youth Council of Ireland.

Social Justice and Climate Justice are interrelated. This video unpacks the roots of global inequality and why climate justice matters, and how to take part in the change.

The UN on Climate Justice

“The impacts of climate change will not be borne equally or fairly, between rich and poor, women and men, and older and younger generations.”
The United Nations



"Climate change is happening now and to all of us. No country or community is immune. And, as is always the case, the poor and vulnerable are the first to suffer and the worst hit.”
António Guterres, UN Secretary-General