Our News

Climate Change & Injustice

March 2024 by Lily Mann

Photo by Nguyen Kiet on Unsplash.

During the Industrial Revolution, the mechanisation of manufacturing and transport led to advances in technology that grew the economies of countries in the Global North. For the upper and middle classes at the time, life became more comfortable, whereas for the working class, disparity in income and living standards deepened. Inequality also widened between countries; as Future Learn write, “the very process that has given the UK, United States and Europe their high standards of living and economic growth are the very processes that exploited the Global South, enslaved millions and ‘under-developed’ the countries that are now so vulnerable to climate change”.

Disproportionate Impacts on Marginalised Communities

The energy-intensive nature of industrialisation and its reliance on fossil fuels produced the carbon emissions that started human-induced climate change. Systemic inequality places the brunt of the burden upon historically marginalised countries and communities, who now face consequences disproportionate to their contribution to climate change. The world’s richest 1% produce over twice the amount of carbon that is produced by the poorest 3.1 billion. (Oxfam, 2024).

Additionally, social vulnerability reduces the capacity of some groups to cope with climate change as they are more likely to face barriers to participating in decision-making, lack access to resources for adaptation, and reside in areas prone to environmental degradation. Meanwhile, those with higher incomes tend to perceive climate change as a low-risk threat. Social justice issues are therefore intrinsic to the climate crisis, necessitating action that is intersectional, equitable, and inclusive.

Diversity in Climate Action

However, such progress is inhibited by the lack of diversity within the Environment, Sustainability, Climate & Conservation sector; just 6% of staff in the sector identify as BAME, compared to 15% in the UK’s working population (The RACE Report, 2023). To avoid reinforcing climate injustices, we must do more to address this significant underrepresentation of the UK’s population within the sector. Including everyone in the conversation contributes to a fairer society and promotes the incorporation of diverse perspectives that enhance decision-making and the robustness of climate action.

In a time punctuated by the cost-of-living crisis, conflict, and socio-political polarisation, climate action may feel less urgent than, and perhaps at odds with, achieving goals such as social justice, poverty relief, and food and energy security. It is important that we do not continue to exclude groups facing disadvantages from the low-carbon culture transition and the co-benefits that climate action drives. Encouraging individuals to recognise and exercise their agency can increase community resilience against climate change.

Empowering Communities Through Carbon Literacy

Carbon Literacy training is ‘climate action where you are’: whether you are a climate scientist informing the IPCC or taking your first steps towards living sustainably, our goal is for everyone to be empowered with the knowledge, skills and confidence to enact change where they can. Whilst The Carbon Literacy Project’s pricing matrix is equitably priced, we recognise that for some, this is still inaccessible and presents barriers to initiating training. This is why we are excited to be piloting our Community Pot – a new fund that will run each quarter and provide funded services to low-income and underrepresented groups across the world.

The Pilot is open exclusively to those who have previously delivered CL training as their experience and insight will be invaluable to us whilst we refine the application process. If there is a group you have always wanted to work with but have lacked the resources to do so, this is your chance to receive a share of £6000s worth of funded Carbon Literacy services. The funded services will cover costs associated with Carbon Literacy – Criteria Checking, Certificate Applications and Toolkits access. We will also provide additional support to facilitate funded Initiatives, and work collaboratively with the Recipient Community Groups (RCGs) to generate effective communications that celebrates your Initiatives.

We expect to fund groups from local sports teams to small charities. We are also accepting applications from those that work within an organisation that exceeds the low-income criteria but are well-placed to reach a group that is eligible. If you are unsure whether your group qualifies for support from the Community Pot, please contact the email address below.

The funded services will only expire after 12 months of either no use, or no framework in place to outline planned timelines for use, at which point the funded services will be withdrawn and reallocated via the Community Pot to other organisations. Our team will be available to support you throughout this journey so please do not feel put off applying if every detail is not yet ironed out. Our goal for the pilot is to refine the process, so this is a learning curve for us too!


Applications for the Pilot will close at 2pm on Wednesday 10th April. Find further guidance and the application form here.

If you have any questions or ideas about your CL Initiative, please get in touch at communityfund@carbonliteracy.com.

Sign-up for our monthly Carbon Literacy newsletter