War on Want demands climate justice


Asad Rehman is the executive director of War on Want, a charitable membership organisation in the UK dedicated to fighting the root causes of poverty and human rights violations. 

War on Want
War on Want demands climate justice at COP25 and climate talks in Madrid and Santiago.


Record levels of greenhouse gases are already leading to killer floods, droughts and famines which are disproportionately affecting some of the poorest people in the world. The response of rich developed countries has failed to reduce emissions or address the systemic inequalities and injustices at its core, despite the countless warnings by climate scientists.

Climate talks are entering a critical phase before the Paris Agreement formally comes into force in 2020. COP25 talks will focus on strengthening the weak pledges that will lead to a warming of at least 3°C, preventing governments and the private sector from trading their emissions, and delivering climate finance to address loss and damage caused by global heating.

War on Want will highlight the work of our partner organisations in the Global South on the front lines of climate violence, and put forward the case for a justice-oriented approach to the climate crisis, as part of a Global Green Deal for People.


War on Want’s executive director, Asad Rehman, will participate in COP25 talks and the Social Summit for Climate in Madrid.

War on Want’s Senior International Programmes Officer for Latin America, Sebastian Ordoñez Muñoz, will participate in the People’s Summit in Santiago.

COP25 talks were moved to Madrid in early November after President Sebastian Piñera’s government announced Chile’s withdrawal from hosting the summit in late October, after massive anti-austerity and anti-government protests across Chile.

Campaigners condemned the decision as an attempt to evade scrutiny on policies that have led to widespread economic and climate injustice.

Asad Rehman, Executive Director at War on Want, said: “With the cost of climate damages racking up to a possible $4 trillion by 2030, the time for warm words about the climate emergency is over. We are in the last chance saloon.

"Governments such as the UK’s can no longer claim they are acting on the climate crisis whilst trying to shift the burden to act onto poorer countries, and whilst UK companies continue to profit from environmental injustices. The UK must show real leadership by committing to its fair share of the global effort, by paying its climate debt and by holding UK companies to account for the damage they are causing."

Green colonialism

Rehman continued: "Despite countless UN reports warning of the need for urgent action, the climate crisis is already devastating the lives and livelihoods of millions, plunging the poorest into yet another crisis of hunger and poverty.

"An opportunity exists to tackle both the climate crisis and the crisis of inequality with a Global Green Deal for People that guarantees everyone the right to dignified life. Our political leaders will not be forgiven if they fail to grasp it.”

Sebastian Ordoñez Muñoz, Senior International Programmes Officer – Latin America at War on Want, said: The Chilean government’s decision to withdraw Santiago as the host city of COP25 is a desperate attempt to divert attention away from the social inequalities and environmental injustices harming communities across the country, and the state’s violent repression against the uprising.

"The crisis unfolding in Chile cannot be isolated from the country’s water crisis – a mega-drought caused by the overexploitation of resources by industrial agriculture and mega-mining industries. Meanwhile, the global mining industry is using the climate crisis as an opportunity to greenwash its image and carbon emissions, while increasing its destructive extraction of 'green' or 'critical' metals such as copper.

"To resist Green Colonialism, we need to embrace grassroots-led transformations towards post-extractivism.”

This Author

Brendan Montague is editor of The Ecologist. This article is based on a press release from War on Want. 

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