Just & In-Time Climate Policy:
Four Initiatives for a Fair Transformation
Climate policy can only be successful if it is designed in a just way. This means that the urgency of climate action must be taken seriously and that the interests of all the people affected – both people harmed by climate change and those affected by the structural change necessary for climate-change mitigation – must be given equal weight.
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Limiting global warming to well below 2°C requires the rapid decarbonization of the global economy. If this enterprise fails, we will jeopardize the life-support systems of future generations. The longer the transformation towards climate compatibility is delayed, the more severe the risks and damage will be for a growing number of people. The transformation requirements and the damage caused by climate change have an unequal temporal, geographical and social distribution – as do the respective possibilities for dealing with them. The WBGU therefore proposes a just & in-time transformation that takes into account all people affected, empowers them, holds those responsible for climate change accountable, and creates both global and national prospects for the future. The WBGU proposes that the German Federal Government should promote four exemplary initiatives of a just & in-time climate policy targeting (1) the people affected by the structural change towards climate compatibility (e.g. in coal-mining regions), (2) the legal rights of people harmed by climate change, (3) the dignified migration of people who lose their native countries due to climate change, and (4) the creation of financing instruments for just & in-time transformation processes.
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G20 countries are responsible for 82% of CO₂ emissions from fossil fuels, so the G20, with its formative influence on the world’s economy and politics, must play a leading role in implementing the 2030 Agenda and the Paris Agreement.