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The risks and impacts of climate change are disproportionately higher for vulnerable populations, creating a basic equity issue - those with the lowest carbon footprints bear the worst consequences of the climate crisis. In addition, several measures designed to combat climate change often detrimentally affect the less affluent, and to some extent, parallels of this play out in climate change dynamics between developed and developing countries. This makes issues of climate justice central to ongoing debates on climate impacts and solutions.

As per the former United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mary Robinson - one of the first advocates for the term - climate justice aims to move the climate change debate from a scientific perspective to one which uses science to place the human rights of vulnerable people and communities at its heart. Given that climate change affects several considerations that are important to human beings, such as food security, water, sanitation, displacement, trade etc., the climate justice debate is about how these competing considerations can be balanced while formulating policy responses.  


This climate justice lexicon aims to articulate a basic understanding of key concepts related to climate justice issues, using plain language and infographics. An “A-Z” of terms is our attempt at an introduction to that which makes up the world of climate justice. This lexicon is not meant to be exhaustive, but instead is designed as a tool to convey the idea that climate change affects human lives and choices made by human beings affect the climate; the keywords have been chosen accordingly and defined with this context in mind. This is part of a larger initiative on climate justice by Justice Adda, which aims to create a rights-based understanding of climate change within entrenched socio-economic contexts.

This lexicon has been created through a collaboration between Justice Adda and the India Climate Collaborative-EdelGive Foundation Alliance. 

Downloadable PDFs with clickable source links are available in English and हिंदी below.

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Written by Eklavya Vasudev, Nithya Kochuparampil, Siddharth de Souza

Designed by Sharada Kerkar

Translated by Reyazul Haque

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