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What is Climate Justice? | Global Witness

Even this wildly unequal picture doesn’t quite capture the
sheer inequity of historical carbon emissions, since much of the CO2 which is
ascribed to lower- and middle-income countries is released in order to satisfy
demand for consumer goods in high-income nations. For example, WWF
has calculated
that the UK’s ‘true’ carbon footprint could be up to twice
its current size if it accounted for these outsourced emissions. This makes the
UK’s much-vaunted success in reducing carbon emissions since 1990 seem much
less impressive.

Disparity
by design

This situation didn’t come about by accident, but as a
result of deliberate political choices by rich countries. As with many
present-day geopolitical problems, once you start looking back in time to find
the reasons why, it’s not long before you arrive at European colonialism.

The wealth of European and North American economies was created
in large part by extracting land, resources and manpower from countries in
Africa, South America and Asia, creating the vast economic inequality which so
defines the world today. Even after formal decolonisation, this extractive
economic model is maintained by powerful companies whose supply chains stretch
across borders, showing little respect for either local communities or the
environment.

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