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Climate Change, SDGs, Faith/Ethics

“Social Justice United with Climate Action”
UU-UNO Seminar
April 2018

Jan W. Dash, PhD

Chief Editor, Climate Change Encyclopedia (World Scientific, 2019)
Managing Editor, Climate Portal
Climate Change = Survival, Justice Issue
!  Science:
!  We are causing recent excess climate change, global
!  Survival Issue:
!  We are seeing bad impacts NOW
!  Impacts FAR WORSE if we do not act robustly
!  Disasters are made worse due to climate change
!  Justice and Ethics Issue:
!  Poor and vulnerable - smallest effect on climate
change, but are hurt the worst by climate change
!  More humane and cheaper for preventive action now,
rather than disaster adaptation by our descendants if
we do not act robustly now

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SDGs = All Social Justice issues; tied
together with Climate Action (SDG13)

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Infrastructure, Well-Being: dependent
on Climate Action, Ecosystems, Water

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!  "Urgent
action to combat climate change and
minimize its disruptions is integral to the
successful implementation of the Sustainable
Development Goals”
UN Secretary General report 

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SDG Essay
!  SDGs – adopted by ALL countries
!  SDGs - carefully constructed ambitious
goals to address urgent global challenges
over the next 15 years. 
!  The SDGs increasingly being viewed as
the general justice framework of choice. 
!  Faith justice issues are in the SDGs.
!  Intersectionality of social justice and
climate action integrally present in SDGs
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SDG Essay (ctn)
!  EX: Intersectionality: Immigration/Climate
◦  Climate change can/does lead to forced
migration and climate refugees
!  SDGs help the poor and vulnerable
!  SDGs: A just survival framework for all: 
◦  “SDGs realize the human rights of
all ...without distinction of any kind as to
race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or
other opinion, national or social origin,
property, birth, disability or other status”
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SDG Essay (ctn 2)
!  The SDGs are increasingly being adopted
as a framework for justice and action by
many organizations in addition to
countries, including cities, NGOs, and
progressive businesses.
!  Here is one example: 
How Baltimore is using the Sustainable
Development Goals to make a more just city.

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!  #SDGLive at #WEF18: Responsible
Business and the SDGs 
!  SDGs, Faith leaders, UN officials
!  SDGs – Local Implementation  
◦  Affordable housing
◦  Sustained Financing
◦  Generation of decent jobs and

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SDG NEWS (ctn)
!  AmericanGeophysical Union
2017: PA22A: Earth Observations in
Support of the Sustainable
Development Goals (SDGs)
◦  Measurements for SDG metrics
!  Global
NGOs Are Aligning With UN
SDG’s 17 Goals, 169 Targets
◦  Example: Clinton Global Initiative -
Alignment with SDGs

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Text for Climate Action SDG13
!  Strengthen resilience and adaptive
capacity to climate-related hazards and
natural disasters in all countries
!  Integrate climate change measures into
national policies, strategies and planning
!  Improve education, awareness-raising and
human and institutional capacity on
climate change mitigation, adaptation,
impact reduction and early warning
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Climate Action SDG13 (ctn)
!  Implement the commitment to a goal of
mobilizing jointly $100 billion annually by
2020 from all sources to address the
needs of developing countries
!  Promote mechanisms for raising capacity
for effective climate change-related
planning and management, focusing on
women, youth and local and
marginalized communities

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Faith/Ethics Groups – Historically Social
Justice, now include Climate Action
!  Pope sets Moral Tone on Climate
!  Interfaith Climate Change Statement
!  Religious Communities – Statements
!  Intergenerational Equity
!  Climate Justice - Bali Principles (2002)
!  NAACP Environmental and Climate Justice Program
!  Dr. Katharine Hayhoe: "Climate Change: Facts,
Fictions, and our Faith"
!  Donald Brown on Climate Ethics

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Unitarian Universalist: Social Justice
Action + Climate Action
!  UU Social Justice actions - all in the SDGs
◦  Racial Justice: SDGs are designed to benefit
ALL poor and vulnerable people
◦  Environmental Justice: SDGs #3, #6,...,#12
!  UU Climate Action
◦  UUMFE Climate Justice (new website)
◦  UU Green Sanctuary
◦  UU-UNO Climate Initiative (started 2009)

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ACTION: We CAN mitigate Climate
!  Climate Change Risk Management
◦  Change: All Deliberate Speed to renewables
◦  Action: All levels - local to global - needed
"  Individuals, NGOs, businesses (private sector),
cities, states, national, international

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2015 Paris Climate Agreement

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Paris NDCs if fulfilled gives +3.5oC by 2100,
better than BAU, but FAR above 2oC goal

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Emissions all countries – must
decrease by 2050 if +2oC in 2100

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!  Climate Action: U.S. Public Opinion – LTE, legislature call/fax…
◦  Urge: Paris Agreement goals for YOUR city/state
◦  Urge: “Hands off the CPP, EPA, NASA, NOAA”
◦  Urge: Price on Carbon (Fee + Dividend)
!  OPPOSE CLIMATE RISK DENIERS in power, federal US govt.
!  We should be optimistic (there is no alternative)
!  “Somebody else” won’t do it alone

!  You can help

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Thank You

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