Nature

New Manifesto to Combat Global Heating

EJF combines frontline voices and expert research in climate policy roadmap

The Environmental Justice Foundation’s Manifesto to Combat Global Heating report and film brings to bear EJF’s long experience of working with people on the frontlines of the climate crisis and combines it with existing scientific research to create a clear roadmap of measures across all sectors – energy, transport, construction, agriculture and clothing – that can be taken by governments today to achieve zero-carbon by 2035.

The manifesto demonstrates the economic and social gains to be made by a transition to a sustainable society; the key importance of nature restoration and protection; and the crucial fact that environmental justice – especially for climate refugees – must be a guiding principle.

Climate benefits

The urgent action needed on climate will not disadvantage those nations that step up, the report stresses, a transformation to sustainability will mean new livelihoods, economic revitalisation and jobs.

For instance, renewable energy is one of the fastest growing industries in the world: in the US alone, over 100,000 jobs were created in the sector from 2015 to 2019, representing more than a 25% growth in the renewable energy workforce. Even as economies took a Covid-19 nosedive in 2020, the global renewables sector bucked the trend to grow almost 7%, despite a temporary decrease in energy demand.

Natural solutions

Nature-based solutions are central, both as low-cost, effective and readily available climate tools and as important solutions to the biodiversity crisis, the report says.

Forests are the among the best solutions to global heating, the report states, and changes to land use, agriculture and forestry practices globally could take us around 37% of the way to keeping warming below catastrophic levels. Overlooked habitats, such as the ‘blue carbon’ in ocean and coastal habitats such as seagrasses and mangroves, must be better protected for the key role they play. In fact, more than half of all biological carbon capture is stored by marine life.

Environmental justice

Throughout, EJF returns to the fact that all measures must embody environmental justice, and the equal right to a secure and healthy environment for all, in a world where ecosystems thrive.

In powerful testimonies in the film, Abdul Ohab talked of the increasing severity of the storms and floods that are devastating many areas in Bangladesh. His family has suffered the tragic impacts. “Within 10 or 20 minutes, water took over our farmlands. The water reached from the ground to the height of my neck. We took shelter on the roof of our house, but some people could not make it back swimming. They died in the storm.”

Under 3C of warming, our current trajectory, at least 200 million people could be displaced by rising sea levels. A legally binding international agreement to protect climate refugees is crucial to give definition and status to climate refugees, says EJF, to define rights and obligations, and to coordinate and combine international actions so that they are truly effective in protecting the most fundamental human right to a safe home.

Executive Director and co-founder of EJF Steve Trent, says:

It is not too late to act. The financial, technological and logistical capabilities needed for these solutions already exist. What is needed now, above all, is political will and with it, ambitious leadership. The economic rationale is also compelling. All too often action to protect our natural environment is classified as a cost - but in reality, action to combat global heating will be the best return on investment of all time.

The manifesto’s key recommendations include:

  • Putting a high price on carbon, starting at least US$100 per tonne.
  • Protecting and restoring at least 30% of land and ocean habitats.
  • Doubling developed countries' international climate finance commitments to ensure that fair responsibility is taken for historical emissions.
  • Agreeing an international legal framework for the protection of climate refugees.