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What is "Just Transition"?

Becoming fundable? Converting climate justice claims into climate finance in Mesoamerica’s forests

The article assesses the efforts of the indigenous and forest people’s groups in Mexico and Central America to promote claims to climate finance in terms of the different concepts of justice and identifies constraints to more transformative and reparative pathways to just climate outcomes.

Detail

The article draws upon the experiences of a coalition of 10 Indigenous and forest peoples’ groups in Mexico and Central America—the Mesoamerican Alliance of Peoples and Forests (AMPB)—with regards to their navigation of the discursive strategies suited for accessing climate finance, particularly through the REDD+ instrument. The author uses the history of community positions toward REDD+ to suggest that the claims underpinning their engagement reflect conceptualizations of climate justice, which deviate from those that have dominated policy and popular discussions. The author assesses the feasibility of the AMPB-proposed Mesoamerican Territorial Fund that aims to directly capture climate finance, which would bypass problematic relations with national governments and traditional donors.

The article finds that although Indigenous peoples and local communities have made significant advances in terms of representation, recognition, participation, and concrete funding, the constraints of “becoming fundable” may hinder more transformative and reparative pathways to just climate outcomes. The requirement to “become fundable”, under the terms of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and major donors, is also a demand for the Indigenous peoples and local communities to become legible . This demand presents a clear tension with the member groups’ priorities of self-determination and “buen vivir”—a term that signifies an explicit recognition of the importance of nature for well-being. The author concludes that moving toward distributive justice may be much easier than a more critical interpretation of procedural justice. As such, efforts to support forest climate initiatives in these contested landscapes may benefit from moving away from results and performance-focused discussions toward a view of climate finance as among the means of achieving distributive, procedural, and historical justice on a territorial scale.

Mitigating inequality with emissions? Exploring energy justice and financing transitions to low carbon energy in Indonesia

This article analyzes energy justice in Indonesia’s transition to low-carbon energy and explores how policies have exacerbated energy injustice.

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This article explores Indonesia’s efforts to reduce energy poverty in its transition to low-carbon energy, with a particular focus on how distributive, procedural, and recognition justice has been included in policies aimed at increasing private investment in renewable energy electrification. Based on the analysis derived from qualitative interviews, field observation, and the review of government documents and policies, the author argues that despite Indonesia’s energy justice agenda of providing access to affordable electricity for all, the policies in place do not effectively promote energy justice.

In terms of distributive justice, the author argues that spatial injustice in electricity access is still prevalent, especially in the eastern part of Indonesia, where many communities lack reliable energy access. The author suggests that many renewable rural electrification projects may exacerbate this spatial inequality by supplying households and cities that have access to a grid network, while neglecting communities that live closest to the electricity generation sites. This is partly due to the government’s encouragement of private investment that favors large-scale projects, thereby further exacerbating geographic inequalities. The author argues that procedural injustice is also prevalent in the energy decision-making processes due to a lack of transparency in the current bidding and procurement processes and limited space for the public participation and engagement in decisions. In terms of recognition, the author asserts that marginalized communities living in areas, where electricity is not considered economically favorable, are neglected and denied electricity access.

The author also makes suggestions for better ways to incorporate energy justice principles into policies and programs. First, energy policies should include more inclusive approaches, such as encouraging public participation and increasing transparency. Second, energy policies need to incentivize diversity beyond large-scale and on-grid projects to effectively target those most affected by energy poverty. Third, contextually grounded approaches best suited to the needs of local communities should be prioritized. Finally, public finance should also be considered in addressing the needs of those most vulnerable to energy poverty.

Financing a Just Transition

This paper suggests that rules and norms governing the finance system must be changed in order for it to respond to climate and sustainable development imperatives.

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“This short paper outlines why the financial system has been unresponsive to climate and sustainable development imperatives. The author suggests that climate change is the ultimate market failure and outlines the toll in terms of climate-related displacement and migration, the cost of climate catastrophes, and the cost of adaptations. The author also points out the small amount of funding already committed to climate mitigation relative to the scale of this challenge, suggesting that finance needs a new “purpose” before it can align with climate finance needs.

Some positive steps have included the issuance of carbon-linked bonds, green bonds, and sustainable bonds, but the author argues that direct intervention in finance is required in order to account for negative externalities, encourage innovation, account for systemic risks, and ensure policy coherence.

Private sector-led interventions include the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TFCD). But public, non-market interventions should include financial regulations, including requiring greater disclosure; judicial interventions, including shifts in fiduciary responsibility; direct financing for joint ventures and subsidies; and stronger public procurement rules that would account for climate risks and liabilities. The author argues these more forceful interventions are required in order to incentivize the finance system to fund sustainable development.”