Will the rich survive climate change?

Ecological justice

Tilman Santarius

To person

Dipl. Soz., Born 1974; Project manager at the Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment, Energy, Berlin office, Rosenthaler Strasse 40/41, 10178 Berlin.
Email: [email protected]

The article first shows that both the causes of climate change and its consequences are unevenly distributed across the globe. Global warming is undermining human rights, and current climate policies are curtailing the development opportunities of poorer countries.


Snow-white sandy beaches, lush palm trees, turquoise blue sea, colorful fish in the coral reef - the islands of Tuvalu in the Pacific Ocean are a paradise. But not much longer. Because the nine coral islands will be swallowed up by rising sea levels in the course of this century. Even if only the moderate scenarios of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) prove to be true, Tuvalu will largely be flooded.

The government has already sought asylum for its 11,000 residents in New Zealand and Australia, and more and more people emigrate every year. Who is primarily to blame for the climate change that threatens their very existence? Who will bear the cost of relocating Tuvalu citizens - and also compensate other people and communities in the south and north similarly afflicted by the effects of global warming? What must happen on a political level to stop climate change and thus prevent even more injustice in the world?