This time in our critical reflexion on typical causes for delaying, downgrading, or rejecting climate change action, we delve into “appeal to social justice”, which falls under the category of disruption fear fallacies.
In many countries, people are struggling with inflation and increasing social inequality. The effects of the crises hit poorer people particularly hard. If fossil fuels are pushed back, even though the switch to renewable energy cannot happen fast enough and prices therefore rise, the fear of no longer being able to afford adequate heating or mobility is more than understandable.
However, this does not have to happen. A socially just transformation is possible by, for one, saving energy and resources where they are currently consumed excessively, and for another, allocating the amount of renewable energy available equitably, according to what is really needed. There are several approaches to how this can be done, ranging from socially graduated carbon taxes to concepts that provide carbon budgets for everyone, distributed according to their respective social and regional needs and ensuring that no one falls short.
The transformation pathways developed in KNOWING put particular focus on socially just and acceptable measures. In close collaboration with the regions involved concrete terms and concepts for socially just transformation will be worked out in order to reduce uncertainties and prevent unfairness. In any case, not tackling the transformation for fear of social injustice is not an alternative. For the consequences of climate change will hit those who are already disadvantaged first and hardest. Change not only averts the worst consequences for them, but also opens up the opportunity for social equalisation.