climate justice

Image: Elyeser Szturm


Climate change affects different social groups in different ways and intensities

The latest report from the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), published in 2021, brought alarming data about the irreversibility of climate change. Despite the conclusions of the document indicating the universality of the impacts, there are elements that also indicate the inequality of the effects of global warming. There are regions that are more severely affected, such as small islands, and there are also groups that are more vulnerable to the effects of climate change.

Climate change not only implies environmental impacts, but also affects the social and economic dimensions of our existence, for example, by threatening human rights, especially of historically more vulnerable groups. The term climate justice indicates that climate change affects different social groups in different ways and intensities. Climate change raises several ethical and political issues (in addition to environmental ones) such as, for example, the deepening of gender inequalities.

Among the groups most vulnerable to climate change, experts single out women. Some effects are biological: in processes such as pregnancy and breastfeeding, for example, women have nutritional needs that make them particularly sensitive to situations of food insecurity, since climate change directly interferes with the food production cycle. Other effects are cultural, such as economic dependence, which results in the difficulty of abandoning residences in risk areas and interferes with the possibility of professional replacement after climate disasters, associated with lower educational levels of women in several countries.

In addition, sexual abuse of women in post-disaster shelters is common and recurrent, as well as the actions of human trafficking networks in contexts of forced migrations caused by hurricanes, tsunamis or large fires. Furthermore, these impacts are not uniform for all women: those with other forms of vulnerability associated, for example, with racial prejudice and less access to economic opportunities, tend to suffer first and most. However, there are still few studies and initiatives that integrate the gender and climate agendas. In an interview, the specialist Cecília Sorensen stated that such lack of knowledge and lack of connection happens even in the medical communities, which are still little qualified to propose health models that integrate gender, race, class and climate change.

Among the strategies that women have found to face this situation is the formation of women's communities. Through the sharing of knowledge, skills and work, women are jointly able to reduce collective vulnerability and increase their economic prosperity. Some strategies for this strategy are capacity building, strategic cooperation and networks of advocacy, raising awareness and disseminating information on the topic, and training to work in practice.

Some initiatives that can contribute to this effort are training and mentoring for candidates for political office, in order to transform projects into long-term public policies, such as risk and disaster reduction policies, budget, municipal and state sectoral plans, plans of government and multi-year plans. O advocacy with public bodies to provide data disaggregated by gender and diversity is also a useful tool to inform climate, risk reduction and disaster policies with a focus on vulnerable girls and women.

Due to the importance of the topic, there are already initiatives and networks linking up to promote gender and climate-responsive policies, such as the women lead climate, women climate, In Power and Women's Environmental Network. These examples show us that the international presence of women's organizations in climate mobilization contrasts with the relative vacuum of movements in Brazil and Latin America. Therefore, the region needs a broad agenda that connects the challenges and solutions into a more robust climate and gender planning and action strategy.

The climate crisis is not gender neutral. The challenge of climate justice involves, on the one hand, the recognition of the intersectionality of climate vulnerabilities (gender, race, social class, etc.), and on the other hand, the persistent low representation of women in spaces of power. In addition to recognizing inequality, we will begin to reduce climate justice in Latin America when we assume a serious commitment to place people committed to the climate agenda in all its nuances, including gender, in spaces of power and representation.

*Marianna Albuquerque holds a PhD in political science from the Institute of Social and Political Studies at UERJ.

Originally published on New Economic Debate Monitor blog (MNDE).

See this link for all articles


  • About artificial ignoranceEugenio Bucci 15/06/2024 By EUGÊNIO BUCCI: Today, ignorance is not an uninhabited house, devoid of ideas, but a building full of disjointed nonsense, a goo of heavy density that occupies every space
  • Franz Kafka, libertarian spiritFranz Kafka, libertarian spirit 13/06/2024 By MICHAEL LÖWY: Notes on the occasion of the centenary of the death of the Czech writer
  • Introduction to “Capital” by Karl Marxred triangular culture 02/06/2024 By ELEUTÉRIO FS PRADO: Commentary on the book by Michael Heinrich
  • Impasses and solutions for the political momentjose dirceu 12/06/2024 By JOSÉ DIRCEU: The development program must be the basis of a political commitment from the democratic front
  • The society of dead historyclassroom similar to the one in usp history 16/06/2024 By ANTONIO SIMPLICIO DE ALMEIDA NETO: The subject of history was inserted into a generic area called Applied Human and Social Sciences and, finally, disappeared into the curricular drain
  • Strengthen PROIFESclassroom 54mf 15/06/2024 By GIL VICENTE REIS DE FIGUEIREDO: The attempt to cancel PROIFES and, at the same time, turn a blind eye to the errors of ANDES management is a disservice to the construction of a new representation scenario
  • The strike at federal Universities and Institutescorridor glazing 01/06/2024 By ROBERTO LEHER: The government disconnects from its effective social base by removing those who fought against Jair Bolsonaro from the political table
  • A myopic logicRED MAN WALKING _ 12/06/2024 By LUIS FELIPE MIGUEL: The government does not have the political will to make education a priority, while it courts the military or highway police, who do not move a millimeter away from the Bolsonarism that they continue to support
  • Hélio Pellegrino, 100 years oldHelio Pellegrino 14/06/2024 By FERNANDA CANAVÊZ & FERNANDA PACHECO-FERREIRA: In the vast elaboration of the psychoanalyst and writer, there is still an aspect little explored: the class struggle in psychoanalysis
  • Volodymyr Zelensky's trapstar wars 15/06/2024 By HUGO DIONÍSIO: Whether Zelensky gets his glass full – the US entry into the war – or his glass half full – Europe’s entry into the war – either solution is devastating for our lives