A Global Coalition for Climate Justice
A global coalition of city governments supporting each other to implement climate justice initiatives across areas including housing, transportation, and employment.


Women are increasingly seen as more vulnerable than men to the impacts of climate breakdown because women represent the majority of the world’s poor and are proportionally more dependent on threatened natural resources.1For more, see the United Nations information <https://www.un.org/en/chronicle/article/womenin-shadow-climate-change> [accessed 10 July 2022]. When people are displaced from their homes and lands by climate breakdown’s symptoms, such as flooding or desertification, women find themselves most vulnerable due to a number of factors – social, economic and cultural. For example, women in many developing countries suffer gender inequalities regarding human rights, land ownership, housing conditions, political and economic status, exposure to violence, and access to education and health. This inequality is a problem but also a possibility for action if cities and their governance create safer, more equitable, and inclusive urban communities to protect those most vulnerable to climate breakdown and social exploitation.


C40 is a network of mayors of nearly 100 global cities who united in 2005 to face precisely this challenge. Learning from ideas developed in Global Green New Deal discourses by thinkers including economist Kate Raworth and politician Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, C40’s Inclusive Climate Action Programme supports mayors in actions that include improving air quality in low-income districts by increasing shared transport and green space, creating new jobs for women and young people, and increasing access to sustainable transportation at the peripheries of cities. Drawing inspiration from Raworth’s Doughnut Economics, C40 calls for an economy that is regenerative and distributive by design and that doesn’t export harmful ecological and social impacts elsewhere.2Kate Raworth. Doughnut Economics: Seven Ways to Think Like a 21st-Century Economist (London: Penguin, 2017).

In an attempt to avoid greenwashing, C40 member cities earn their membership through action, and the scheme operates on performance-based requirements, not membership fees, relying on mutual accountability, scrutiny, and support. This requirement also ensures the liveness of the initiative: if a new mayor arrives with a different political agenda than the previous one, his or her performance will be scrutinised by other members, and membership may be withdrawn by collective decision. C40 offers a blueprint for holistic urban governance that embraces an eco-intersectional approach to equity, and resists siloed professionalisation that sacrifices interdisciplinary exchange to unfairly consolidate power. Similar initiatives including Transform Freetown and Women4Climate evidence the powerful possibility of municipal schemes working with intersectional frameworks for policy and infrastructure committed to social justice. The fact that these schemes are municipal not national is significant, indicating the potential for city-scale intervention and responsibility. The global coalition, meanwhile, adds the strength of transnational exchange in learning and support.