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Climate change is one of the central challenges facing African countries and their people. Unless concerted efforts are made worldwide very soon to reduce emissions, climate change impacts are likely to be devastating. Higher-end temperature scenarios present a dark future jeopardizing secure access to basic needs such as water, food, housing and a healthy environment, as well as adding to the stressors on natural resources.
Those who will suffer the most from the challenges posed by climate change have contributed the least to the problem in the first place: the poor and vulnerable, especially in developing countries. To make matters worse, these are the same people who have benefited the least from modernisation and industrialisation and have a relatively small carbon footprint. This is a double injustice.
While climate justice and social justice are difficult to disentangle, neither the legal systems nor the main actors framing the dominant climate change narratives seem sufficiently attentive to the double-edged justice questions posed by the impacts of climate change on poor communities.
This book attempts to fill some of the gaps in climate change scholarship by focusing on the climate narratives emerging in and around South Africa – how they relate to broader issues of social justice and resource allocation, and the role of rights talk and legal strategies in the framing of the problems and solutions. In doing so, the book contributes to developing rights- and justice-based strategies for translating knowledge into action.