“Climate change is really about human rights, human rights around the globe, especially those who are very poor,” Grace Ji-Sun Kim says. “The vulnerable … their human rights are being taken away.”
Kim, visiting researcher at Georgetown University and member of the working group on climate change for the World Council of Churches, talks about climate change and human rights in a new Skype interview with EthicsDaily.com
Kim returned recently from Lima, Peru, where she attended COP20.
COP20 refers to the 20th annual Conference of the Parties sponsored by the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. The two-week conference brings together minds devoted to climate change research and intervention.
“I went as one of the few delegates for the World Council of Churches,” Kim says.
As a WCC delegate and conference observer, Kim noted that COP20 focused this year on the intersection between climate change and human rights.
Kim says the current focus on human rights has been part of the evolution of thinking about climate change.
When climate change first appeared on researchers’ radars, the main concern was the environment itself – reducing carbon emissions, for example.
“But it wasn’t really tied in with human rights,” Kim says.
Now it is apparent that those who suffer most from climate change’s effects “are the vulnerable, the poor, the poorer countries,” she says.
Weather crises, for example, happen everywhere, but they claim greater numbers of lives and have harsher impacts in poorer and developing areas.
“I’m glad that the World Council of Churches is now approaching this as a human rights issue,” Kim says. “It’s very important to tie the two.”
Watch the interview with Kim at vimeo.com/ethicsdaily/skype-gracejisunkim4
Learn more about Grace Ji-Sun Kim at gracejisunkim.wordpress.com
Watch other EthicsDaily.com Skype interviews at vimeo.com/ethicsdaily