The Climate Justice Project, a partnership between the CCPA and UBC, addresses climate policy from a social justice perspective: we consider the social and economic effects of climate change, and we acknowledge that climate change affects people differently, depending on their position in society.
We aim to develop policy solutions that will enable BC to dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to climate change, in a way that is fair and that benefits all members of society.
Without a social justice perspective, climate policies risk exacerbating the already unacceptable gap between rich and poor in BC:
- High-income families are responsible for a disproportionate share of the emissions that lead to climate change;
- Low-income families can’t afford electric cars, retro-fitting homes or other measures that are usually proposed to reduce emissions;
- Low-income British Columbians risk being adversely affected by the carbon tax, higher electricity bills and other pricing measures than wealthier citizens; and
- Some groups are more vulnerable to the most serious impacts of climate change — for example, women, children, seniors and people living in resource-dependent communities.
BC is already experiencing the consequences of climate change, including widespread forest fires and extensive pine beetle infestation, with the prospect of greater changes to come. At the same time, BC has the highest poverty levels in Canada, and the greatest inequality between rich and poor, making social justice concerns extremely important.
The Climate Justice Project includes research, education and citizen engagement, in four main areas:
- Carbon pricing, regulations and alternative methods for reducing greenhouse gas emissions
- Green jobs and the transition to a sustainable economy
- Making BC communities resilient to climate change
- Developing innovative strategies for education and citizen engagement in transformative change
Research findings will be used to develop educational materials for a citizen engagement process in 2011.
The project is funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, and by Vancity and Vancouver Foundation.