The Call for Climate Justice

By Tshiamo Malatji

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Power lies in different parts of society, in the systems we build, the organisations and movements that we are part of, and in the street politics we do.

Climate Justice Charter, Draft 1

The Climate Justice Charter is a common vision document expressing how South Africa can transition to “a different future, where all human and non-human life is sustained.”

It explains that with “extreme weather shocks (droughts, floods, wild fires, tornadoes, heat waves), ecosystem collapse, sea level rise, together with major stresses on the Earth’s systems, everything is changing fast.”

The cause of these changes is the general rise of temperature in the world, known as global warming. Certain gasses in the atmosphere trap heat and we worsen this when we burn fossil fuels like coal, oil and gas or cut down and burn forests — essentially, human industrial activity.

South Africa is a major emitter of carbon gasses. We’re the 14th highest in the world.

Science shows that the world is heating up and that’s leading to melting ice glaciers, the scrambling of wildlife and extreme weather patterns. South Africa is in one of its worst droughts in recent history. Five villages in the Eastern Cape have been without running water for three months.

The situation isn’t getting better. This week, South Africa’s major polluter, Eskom, requested an exemption from emission limits. Eskom alone emits 42% of South Africa’s greenhouse gasses, followed by Sasol with 11%.

We need to address the root causes of the problem through unifying, all-encompassing and deeply transformative action.

Climate Justice Charter, Draft 1

The document includes proposals for socially-owned and community-based renewable energy, food sovereignty, democratising water commons, clean energy public transport systems, zero waste, eco-social housing and more.

The Charter was produced by the Cooperative and Policy and Alternative Centre (COPAC) and the South African Food Sovereignty Centre (SAFSC). Organisations across South Africa were involved in drafting the charter, including Earthlife Africa, an organisation committed to reducing pollution, waste and to protect natural resources.

“Let’s take a stand and act now,” the charter concludes, “In South Africa and through international solidarity, before it is too late.”

Climate Protest in Johannesburg

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