What is Climate Debt?
The Earth has one atmosphere and climate system.
We must live within its limits and share the benefits fairly.
The wealthy have used more than a fair and sustainable share, driving climate change and its adverse effects.
The wealthy therefore owe a climate debt to the poor for:
- Their excessive demands on a shared atmosphere and climate system, requiring the poor to pay to mitigate a crisis they did little to cause (an emissions debt); and
- The damages and costs caused by climate change, requiring the poor to adapt to its adverse effects (an adaptation debt).
A growing movement of peoples and countries are calling for repayment of climate debts as the basis of an equitable, effective and science-based solution to climate change.
- The restoration to developing countries the atmospheric space that is occupied by the wealthy’s greenhouse gas emissions.
- The decolonization of the atmosphere through the reduction and absorption of developed countries’ emissions.
- Assumption of the costs and technology transfer needs of developing countries arising from the loss of development opportunities due to living in a restricted atmospheric space.
- Assumption of responsibility for the hundreds of millions of people that will be forced to migrate due to the climate change caused by these countries, and eliminate their restrictive immigration policies, offering migrants a decent life with full human rights guarantees in their countries.
- Assumption of adaptation debt related to the impacts of climate change on developing countries by providing the means to prevent, minimize, and deal with damages arising from their excessive emissions.
- The honoring of these debts as part of a broader debt to Mother Earth by adopting and implementing the United Nations Universal Declaration on the Rights of Mother Earth.
For the latest updates on climate debt please click here. For further information on climate debt please see the following:
- Climate Justice Brief on Climate Debt ( Esp ) ( Arabic )
- Cochabamba People’s Agreement Final Conclusions on Climate Debt
- The Climate Debt Crisis: Why Paying Our Dues is Essential for Tackling Climate Change - Jubilee Debt Campaign and World Development Movement (November 2009)
- Rich Countries’ “Climate Debt” and How They Can Repay It – ActionAid (October 2009)
- Climate Debt: A Primer – (April 2009)
- PACJA Statement to to the CAHSG – Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA) Statement to the Conference of African Heads of States and Governments (CAHSG) on Climate Change (24 August 2009)
- Proposal by Bolivia to UNFCCC on Climate Debt
- Proposal to Amend the Kyoto Protocol by Bolivia (on behalf of Malaysia, Paraguay and the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela)
- Naomi Klein, Climate Rage in Rolling Stone Magazine, 23 November 2009
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