Friday, September 15, 2023
New Report: Climate Reparations and Racial Justice from UCLA School of Law’s Promise Institute for Human Rights
Back in March 2023, the UCLA Promise Institute brought together a working group of experts from the United Nations (UN), the Inter-American system, and regional social movements to discuss the disproportionate impacts of the global climate crisis on racially marginalized peoples in North America, Central America, and the Caribbean—particularly people of African and Indigenous descent—in a convening called “Setting Institutional Priorities on Climate Reparations and Racial Justice: Learning from Social Movements” (Convening). Since then, the students of UCLA’s International Human Rights Clinic have been compiling the takeaways from the Convening, and on September 12, 2023, they published their final report.
The Report traces the themes of each session at the Convening. Section 1 provides an overview of perspectives on climate justice and reparations from movement leaders from the Global South and marginalized communities around the world. Section 2 briefly outlines the public international law basis to provide reparations and how scholars are advancing thinking around climate reparations, in particular. Further, this section explores how public international law constrains historical responsibility by adopting principles, procedures and remedies that ignore the experiences of marginalized people while also actively reproducing unequal relations. Section 3 provides an overview of current discussions around “loss and damage” within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and other international frameworks. It outlines how the framing of climate change within international fora tends to exclude the historical responsibility that should be borne by some states and transnational corporations. Finally, the Conclusion highlights some of the central themes and key takeaways that arose from the working group of experts and identifies topics for future research.
The report is available here.