Debt for Climate: An initiative to foster a just green transition

DiEM25 is supporting ‘Debt for Climate’ – a Global South-driven grassroots initiative to turn debt into climate action and create the foundations for a just green transition through self-determination

Debt for Climate is an initiative connecting social, labour and climate justice struggles by uniting movements from the Global South and North in order to turn debt-trap diplomacy on its head. The goal is to cancel the debt of impoverished nations to pave the way for a just transition – the implementation of a global Debt for Climate initiative has the potential to leave trillions of dollars in fossil fuel reserves in the ground, while freeing countries from a strangling debt burden, often used as a tool for further extraction of natural resources. Therefore, we are organising global actions to push these demands during the G7 meeting from June 26 to 28.

Debt is not compatible with climate action. Crippling structural readjustment and repayments place indebted nations at the mercy of multinational predators pushing for fossil fuel extraction. Repaying these odious debts also prevents Global South countries from pursuing a just transition and adapting to global heating.

The G7 can show whether it is serious about climate change by cancelling these debts. The colonial setup of the IMF and World Bank places immense power at the hands of the G7. The US, France, Germany, Japan, and the UK control the largest voting shares, with the US wielding de facto veto power over all major decisions.

If the G7 are genuinely serious about leaving fossil fuels in the ground, they must address the root causes driving continued extraction, which starts by cancelling all Global South debt.

Who owes whom really?

The G7 is disproportionately responsible for climate breakdown, and this amounts to a climate debt immeasurably greater than the financial debt ‘owed’ by low-emitting countries in the Global South. However, this climate debt is just the tip of a centuries-old imperialist iceberg which conceals exploitation, colonisation, and enslavement.

Debt for Climate demands that the richest countries of the Global North begin to pay their climate debt. This encompasses the demands for reparations, loss and damage, and climate finance, which must not come in the form of loans but as interest-free payments. The unconditional cancellation of all illegitimate Global South debt is part of rectifying hundreds of years of injustices.

While we cannot yet disclose all of the information, due to strategic reasons for civil disobedience, we can tell you that direct actions are going to take place in over 25 countries globally, in the Americas, Europe, Africa, Australia and Asia. If you’d like to join or even organise one in your city, please contact [email protected].

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