29 November 2019
Today, Scott Ainslie - Green MEP for London - took part in the Sakharov Debate 2019 on the question: 'Climate Rights as Human Rights?'.
This annual debate is named in honour of the European Parliament's Sakharov Prize - a prize awarded to individuals or organisations who fight for human rights and fundamental freedoms.
Scott spoke alongside Liberal Democrat MEP, Irina von Wiese; Professor of Political Science at UCL, Dr. Lisa Vanhala; Student activist with the UK Student Climate Network, Sophia Dyvik Henke; and Lawyer and Climate Accountability Lead at Client Earth, Sophie Marjanac.
He focused on the topic of inequalities, explaining:
“The climate emergency is a human rights issue because it affects so many different areas: the right to food, the right to housing, the right to education and many more. These effects are felt the strongest among the most vulnerable, and those who have contributed least to this crisis.”
He drew particular attention to the problem of 'climate apartheid', whereby the rich can pay to escape the heat and hunger caused by the escalating climate crisis, while the rest of the world suffers. One example is Hurricane Sandy, which wreaked havoc on New York in 2012. The extreme weather stranded low-income and vulnerable New Yorkers without access to power and healthcare, while the headquarters of Goldman Sachs was protected by tens of thousands of its own sandbags and power from its generator.