Cities can be key agents of change in the fight against global warming, by being “natural” sites for innovative and experimental climate action in a progressive direction. They are responsible for a substantial share of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, making them key players in climate change mitigation and adaptation.
They are also recognized as hubs of innovation and places offering numerous opportunities for collaboration with civil society. However, cities can also be hotbeds of injustice, leading to displacement, inequality, marginalization and poverty. To fully harness the potential of cities as agents of change, they must therefore be “justice conscious” when developing climate policies.
A CCR study Assessing climate justice concerns in climate decision-making processes reveals that the more cities strive to meet climate change goals, the more likely they are to take climate concerns into account. climate justice when designing and implementing climate efforts, regardless of geographic categorization.
It highlights awareness of the social justice aspects of climate action, assessed through its recognitional, distributive, procedural and intergenerational dimensions. Climate justice can be a useful political lever to develop measures that simultaneously promote the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and their social justice dimension, thus reducing the risk of negative impacts.
What are the differences between the different categories of cities?
The results suggest that wealthier cities may be more likely to achieve their social justice goals when planning and implementing climate action. Cities that view their economic, financial, and communications strategies as city-specific characteristics are also more likely to be climate justice conscious. The results also suggest that cities that receive cross-sectoral support from higher levels of governance are more likely to consider justice dimensions in their climate action planning.
However, municipal authorities’ perception of favorable geoclimatic conditions is negatively related to climate justice awareness. This suggests that a favorable climate could reduce the perceived urgency of climate action and the consideration of associated social issues.
These connections can be interpreted as the assistance needs that cities perceive in their journey towards just climate neutrality and highlight areas on which future research and policy efforts should focus in the years to come to pave the way for a just transition.
This study uses data from EU mission on 100 climate neutral and smart cities by 2030an initiative involving local authorities, citizens, businesses, investors as well as regional and national authorities.
Using the dataset – gathered from responses provided by cities via a dedicated questionnaire – the authors created an unprecedented portrait of how hundreds of European cities fare in terms of climate change mitigation and ambition. climatic; and developed a scientifically robust climate justice awareness index.
This index not only helps us compare different cities, but also discover what makes them more aware of the need to achieve social justice goals when planning their climate actions.
The study also examines the different approaches taken by different cities to address climate change and takes into account factors such as city size, national context and local GDP per capita. Overall, the study’s quantitative assessment of climate justice awareness can help cities think about how and where to achieve more social justice goals when planning their climate policies.
The need for this study arises from the growing importance of climate justice in the context of climate change discussions and the urgency to address this issue at the local, particularly urban, level.
Climate justice, defined as justice in relation to the effects of responses to climate change, is a concept that has gained prominence in recent years, but its operational value remains a matter of debate. The study aims to fill a crucial gap by assessing the operational value of climate justice in climate decision-making processes, particularly at the urban level.
Other initiatives focused on climate action and climate justice: