Who should pay for the impacts of the climate crisis? The residents of the Indonesian island Pari will tell us

Miriam Saage-Maaß, Asmania, Edi

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Climate-related damages and losses are on the rise throughout the world. But those most affected have contributed the least to the climate crisis. Who should pay for these losses and damages? Industrialized states and major firms bear an overwhelming responsibility for the crisis and must be forced to repair this harm – through legal means.
Lightning Talk

In an unprecedented lawsuit against the cement giant Holcim, the community of Pari island is demanding reparative justice for the devastating effects of climate change. Climate justice is much more than a cash question. It is a matter of human rights, of acknowledging responsibility for historical harms and, most importantly, of listening to and acting upon the demands of those most affected. 

Our legal intervention supports the people of Pari island, whose lives and homes are threatened by rising sea levels and severe flooding connected to climate change. In their call for climate justice, the islanders have sued Holcim, one of the world’s largest cement companies, which has contributed significantly to the climate crisis. They are demanding that Holcim massively reduce its CO₂ emissions, pay compensation for losses and damages already incurred, as well as finance urgently needed flood protection measures. The lawsuit is part of a worldwide movement for climate and reparatory justice, which aims to hold those most responsible for the crisis to account. 

The case against Holcim is the second lawsuit of its kind initiated by affected communities from the Global South. The central questions of the case concern not only who should pay for climate-related losses and damages, but also whose voices should be heard when deciding on that question. Global governance in response to the climate crisis, especially regarding economic and non-economic losses and damages, involves a thorough understanding of global systems, as well as the complex linkages between these systems and local needs, both economic and ecological. It requires a transnational dialogue where those most affected are the protagonists. Those marginalized by the economic system from which this crisis emerged must have a say in this transformative process – they must not be forced to suffer from this system again. 

Foto von Miriam Saage-Maaß
Legal Director
Foto von Asmania
Call for Climate Justice - Klägerin
Foto von Edi
Call for Climate Justice - Kläger