The Burning Case for Climate Reparations

The Burning Case for Climate Reparations

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Augustine United Church

41 George IV Bridge



United Kingdom

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The Burning Case for Climate Reparations: Colonialism, corporate power and restorative climate justice

About this event

Please note that the event will begin at 7.15pm - but doors open from 6.45pm.

What are climate reparations? Who is calling for them? Why are they needed to ensure climate justice?


  • Lumumba Di-Aping, longstanding climate justice advocate from South Sudan and chief negotiator for the G77 group of developing countries at the landmark UN climate talks in Copenhagen in 2009
  • Nicola Frith, academic and co-founder of the International Network of Scholars and Activists for Afrikan Reparations (INOSAAR)

Come and hear from our speakers about the case for climate reparations, ask questions, explore the issues and the solutions, and consider the actions we might take here in Scotland to recognise the damage done, and to ensure a just transition to a fossil fuel free world.

At the Copenhagen climate summit more than a decade ago, our keynote speaker, the chief negotiator for the group of 77 countries in the global south Lumumba Di-Aping, called out countries in the global north for ‘colonising the sky’. He also called out the leaked text of the Copenhagen climate treaty as ‘climate genocide’, asserting that ‘we [the countries of the global south] have been asked to sign a suicide pact’.

Lumumba's comments were in response to repeated attempts by rich countries to block climate action and shut down any global agreement on reparations, in recognition of the global north's historic responsibility for climate change.

Twelve years later, at the COP26 in Glasgow last November, rich countries were still blocking attempts to agree compensation for climate damages. However, the Scottish government has spoken out in support of compensation for loss and damage from climate change, and Scotland was the first rich country to pledge to give money specifically for this at the UN climate summit last year.

For centuries, reparations activists and communities across the global south have demanded reparations and planetary repairs in response to colonialism. Now they are increasingly calling for climate reparations in response to climate breakdown.

Colonialism created the world that gave us climate breakdown and also brought the beginnings of debt, unfair trade rules and corporate power that have led to the deep inequalities of wealth and power in the world, and also to climate injustice. Western governments and fossil fuel companies bear much responsibility, yet they rarely acknowledge their role.

There cannot be climate justice without reparations - not just monetary compensation for the losses faced by the global south, but repairing the damage done by climate change and ending the economic violence that’s driving it.

We invite people to come along to hear our excellent speakers, but also to ask questions and explore the issues, and solutions.

Picture: Maddy Winters, Against the Grain photography

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