GOOD NEWS! The United Nations has taken a critical step towards addressing the climate crisis in a just and equitable way, by passing a landmark resolution on climate justice. The resolution, initiated by the Pacific Island nation of Vanuatu, acknowledges the unequal impact of climate change on vulnerable and marginalised communities and calls for the promotion of climate justice in all relevant international forums. This will bring the climate crisis right into the spotlight, accelerating action.
The landmark resolution asks the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to deliver an opinion on climate change, and outline legal consequences for countries not meeting their commitments, and for harming the environment. Taking climate change concerns to the highest court is a huge turning point that could mean serious repercussions if countries and states fail to uphold their part in protecting our beautiful planet.
As a Pacific Island nation, Vanuatu is particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change; sea levels rising, increased frequency and severity of tropical storms, and coral bleaching are all very real and very dangerous concerns for Vanuatu. This new resolution seeks to clarify the legal obligations under international law to prevent climate change and compensate for any harm caused to the environment. It also recognises the need to enhance the capacity of developing countries to mitigate and adapt to the impacts of climate change and calls on developed countries to provide financial and technical support to enable them to do so.
Why is Vanuatu leading the charge? Recently, our small pacific island neighbour, home to some 300,000 people across 80 islands, was hit by not one but two devastating cyclones.
The resolution further stresses the importance of transitioning to a low-carbon economy fairly, and that the rights of workers and communities are protected in the process. This is particularly relevant for New Zealanders, as we take vital steps towards a zero-carbon future and commit to reducing our greenhouse gas emissions to net-zero by 2050.
New Zealand's proximity to the Pacific Islands also means we have a responsibility to support our Pacific Island neighbours in addressing the impacts of climate change. In addition to providing financial and technical support for mitigation and adaptation efforts, New Zealand can also work to promote climate justice in international forums and support initiatives that seek to clarify the legal obligations of states regarding climate change.
Overall, the resolution on climate justice adopted by the United Nations General Assembly represents an important step towards addressing the climate crisis in a just and equitable way. At Eartha, it is our responsibility to lead the way in promoting climate justice and taking bold action to reduce our carbon footprint and support the transition to a low-carbon economy, both in New Zealand and around the world.
- "UN adopts landmark resolution on climate justice", ABC News, 30 March 2023
- "Net Zero By 2050", New Zealand Government, accessed 30 March 2023
- "Vanuatu: Cyclone appeals $60m underfunded", Al Jazeera, 21 March 2023
About the author - meet Earthan Lucy ColgraveLucy is the Founder & Chief Eartha Officer of Eartha. She created Eartha to help others find calm through sustainable shopping, learning and wellness. Lucy is a newly qualified 200 hour Yoga Teacher with Yoga Alliance and loves spreading the bliss that yoga can bring. You can check out her yoga channel on Instagram Lucy Glow Yoga.