Global solidarity for climate justice: perspectives from an early-career researcher

On the occasion of the WCRP Open Science Conference in Kigali, Rwanda, the International Science Council interviewed early-career climate researchers from the Global South to gather their perspectives in the lead-up to the Kigali declaration and COP 28.

This piece is part of a series of special blogs developed to raise awareness on inclusive climate perspectives, with focus on early-career researchers (ECR) and scientists from the Global South. In this article, Dr. Leandro Diaz, a climatologist from Argentina, shares his perspective on global solidarity for climate justice.

North-South solidarity for climate

The global climate challenge is marred by an unsettling imbalance. The Global South unfairly struggles with climate change, despite their historically negligible contribution to the environmental crisis. 

These countries experience more climate-related disasters (droughts, floods, or cyclones) than their northern counterparts. Unfortunately, this is just the tip of the iceberg in a far more intricate scenario; because these countries are often already grappling with pre-existing political, social, or environmental challenges, they also face higher risks to the devastating impacts of these events. Inadequate building infrastructure, healthcare, and sanitation systems all exacerbate the already difficult situation.

In Central-Eastern Argentina, where Dr. Díaz resides, such extreme events pose a significant threat to the production sector, leading to economic losses that destabilize an already fragile economy. With the rise in extreme weather events, including heatwaves, heavy rains, prolonged droughts, and wildfires, regions that rely on agriculture and livestock, like his own, face a particularly precarious situation. That said, Dr. Díaz underscores that urban regions are also at risk, with heatwaves in urban areas putting excess pressure on electricity, resulting in higher numbers of casualties.

A more sustainable solution 

While one-time international aid does provide initial relief, the true requirement lies in long-term sustainability. According to Dr. Díaz, we need to pursue structural solutions to secure a better future for all. He emphasizes a double-pronged solution: fairer international conditions that leave neo-colonial economic relationships behind and the promotion of direct collaboration with the most vulnerable communities to improve their infrastructure. 

Dr. Díaz calls for the prioritization of adaptation policies in the Global South, namely the enhancement of science and technological advancement, increased local capacity to address climate change, more efficient early warning systems, improved infrastructure, and improved land-use planning and ecological preservation through science-informed policies. 

Shaping a sustainable future: nurturing new climate leaders 

For Dr. Diaz, early-career researchers play a pivotal role in climate research for several reasons. First and foremost, they represent the future of the discipline and will assume leadership roles as the field becomes increasingly central in light of the escalating climate crisis. According to him, they also possess a more acute environmental sensitivity due to their generational perspective, having already experienced the initial consequences of climate change throughout their relatively short lives, with expectations of continued exposure in the future.

Leandro B. Diaz

Dr. Leandro B. Díaz is an early-career researcher (ECR) specializing in climatology, with a focus on climate variability, prediction, and change in southern South America. He works at the Center for Research on the Sea and the Atmosphere (CIMA), which is part of the University of Buenos Aires. As a scientist, his primary goal is to create positive socio-economic impacts and prevent human losses.

“As an early-career scientist, I consider my research paramount to contribute to the construction of a progressively fairer society. Science contributions, including citizen science and collaborative climate knowledge co-creation, are crucial to develop community-aligned early warning systems and climate prediction tools, ultimately enhancing preparedness for extreme events.” 


Explore the other topics and interviews of the series:

From monsoon joy to fear: a climate crisis awakening

 In this article, Dr. Shipra Jain, a physicist and climatologist from India, bares her heart on climate change and its impacts on society.

The human dimension of disaster risk reduction: social sciences and climate adaptation 

In this article, Dr. Roché Mahon, a social scientist specialized on climate, highlights how social sciences can effectively improve climate adaptation and ultimately save lives.


About the Open Science Conference Kigali: a beacon for the Global South 

The World Climate Research Programme’s (WCRP) Open Science Conference (OSC) is holding its first African edition in Kigali, Rwanda. The once-in-a-decade global conference will address the disproportionate impact of climate change on the Global South, foster mutual understanding, and discuss transformative actions urgently needed for a sustainable future, with a key focus on the “Kigali Declaration” to be presented at COP28.  

The WCRP is also conducting a Symposium for Early and Mid-Career Researchers (EMCR), of which Dr. Díaz is an organizer. The event aims to boost EMCR presence, showcase EMCR work, foster networking with senior experts, and boost EMCR presence throughput the Open Science Conference sessions. 


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One world, one climate: a planetary call to action

Ambassador Macharia Kamau, Member of the ISC Global Commission on Science Missions for Sustainability, urges the international community to close the North-South gap in scientific research on climate and strive towards a ‘one world, one climate’ approach for global and sustainable solutions to the climate crisis.


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Disclaimer
The information, opinions and recommendations presented in this article are those of the individual contributors, and do not necessarily reflect the values and beliefs of the International Science Council.

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