I recently read this quote by First Minister Alex Salmond: "The huge injustice of climate change is that it is those who have done the least to cause the problem, the most vulnerable from the world's poorest communities, are those who are hardest hit by it." This was stated on the day the government launched its response to the increasing call for climate justice.
Climate justice is one of those big ideas that just continues to grow. It came out of anger, and is in response to the demands from the poorest nations on Earth. They could see that the rich were destroying the livelihoods of the poor through the reckless use of fossil fuels and the resulting emissions of greenhouse gases. They could see the terrible irony that we in the rich countries are the ones who are the big consumers, and in our greed, we put the Earth at risk and those people in the poorest countries who are least able to defend themselves.
That message was brought to rich countries by churches and development agencies such as Christian Aid and Oxfam. It is good to see this small but significant response being made in Scotland with the launch of the Scottish Government Climate Justice Fund by Mary Robinson and First Minister Alex Salmond. It is admittedly a small beginning (£3million over three years) and is limited in reach to four African countries (Malawi, Rwanda, Tanzania and Zambia). But its significance is so much bigger. It is an acknowledgement that our impact on other countries has been profound and that we must address this injustice.
The launch of the fund was marked by a short film to which the church lent its support. The Moderator of the General Assembly, Right Reverend Albert Bogle, contributed briefly to the film, as did other faith leaders. We need to do much more to promote climate justice and we will be happy to work with the Scottish Government to achieve this.
Check out the video.