UNICEF UK advocates for a child rights approach to tackling climate change and social injustice.
The geographical injustice of climate change is well known: those least responsible for the problem, especially in less developed countries, are the most affected by climate change and have the fewest resources to cope with its impacts. But the injustice between generations is less well understood.
Today’s adult generation, through their decisions and lifestyles, will determine the future that later generations inherit. But are we taking this long term responsibility seriously?
The idea of intergenerational responsibility is not yet reflected in climate change policies or debate. The focus remains on the immediate costs of emissions reduction, compared with the immediate benefits of carbon-intensive economic growth. This approach ignores the rights of future generations and the benefits of an early transition to a low-carbon economy, greater energy security, improved air quality and greater health and wellbeing.
Child rights approach
A child rights approach to climate change would take intergenerational justice into account and radically transform the policies and commitments of those in power. This approach urgently needs to be implemented by governments and civil society actors shaping the response to climate change.