A manifesto to combat global heating

A manifesto to combat global heating

Systemic change for a sustainable, survivable future

An existential threat

The climate crisis is one of the greatest challenges humanity faces, and poses an existential threat for the stability of human societies and the web of life on Earth. It is the defining issue of our time, and demands coordinated, ambitious efforts to shift to a zero-carbon global economy. Only wholesale systemic change can avert catastrophic impacts for hundreds of millions of people.

Every nation and every industrial sector must play its part in the change we need. The time for incremental change and promises to cut emissions in far-off decades has long passed. Ambitious action to end our dependence on fossil fuels, stop the destruction of Earth’s life support systems and promote climate justice for all must begin immediately.

From reforming our energy production to shifting to a global circular economy, from ensuring Indigenous land rights and ownership to building forward-thinking cities, this manifesto outlines the key steps we need to get there. It is a practical document, detailing proposals which can be acted on immediately and which have proven benefits for tackling the climate crisis. It is comprehensive, taking the best available approaches and data for sustainable reforms covering everything to how we travel to the food we eat. It provides both specific policies and a broad framing for the action which we should, as a planet, now take.

Global heating is the key issue of environmental justice and it must be viewed through a human rights lens alongside the environmental one.

Steve Trent

EJF Co-Founder and CEO

Transformative change

This manifesto details how transformative change can and must come about. The bad news is that the situation is now urgent, but the good news is we have all the tools we need to bring the climate of our planet back to a stable state, with environmental justice for everyone and a thriving natural world. Committing financially and politically to climate action is not a cost; it will be the greatest investment in human history.

The science could not be clearer. The cost of inaction will be measured in homes destroyed, lives lost, economies collapsed and species wiped off the map, but it is not too late to act. We must end our carbon dependency quickly, equitably and completely, and everyone has a role to play. This manifesto is a roadmap to a sustainable future. It’s time to begin that journey in earnest.

Specific actions for policymakers

Governments should reach net zero at the very latest by 2035, giving the best possible chance of avoiding runaway global heating and the resulting ecological, economic and social chaos. They should set ambitious targets to rapidly deliver a global circular economy, and act on them.


  • Put in place large-scale subsidies for renewable energy and use public investment to drive research and development into further improving zero carbon technologies across all areas of the economy.
  • Put a rapidly escalating high price on carbon and remove all direct and indirect incentives for fossil fuels, including subsidies, for its production and use.
  • Develop low- and zero-carbon transport infrastructure, with policies including bans (such as on petrol and diesel cars), taxes (such as progressive frequent flyer taxes) and positive incentives (support for electric vehicles).
  • Support small-scale and localised electricity generation to bring clean energy to underprivileged communities.

Public finance

  • Use monetary, fiscal and trade tools such as carbon taxes and carbon border pricing to avoid leakage, correcting the market failures driving the climate crisis.
  • Use Covid-19 relief funding to accelerate the green jobs boom and free national economies from fossil fuels.
  • Require public development banks to stress test their investments for their effects on the climate.
  • Ensure all public procurement is structured around zero carbon targets.

Nature-based solutions

  • Explicitly include nature in climate targets, making use of the power of nature to store carbon by restoring and protecting ecosystems on land and at sea alongside rapid decarbonisation.
  • Set aside 50% of the Earth’s surface for nature.
  • Ensure effective and immediate measures to protect ocean ecosystems including protecting 30% of ocean environments by 2030; placing an immediate moratorium on deep sea mining; and introducing new national and international action to combat illegal and unsustainable fishing, including new measures to ensure full transparency across fisheries supply chains.

Climate justice

  • Put climate justice at the heart of climate policy, including by establishing legal frameworks for the protection of climate refugees.
  • Recognise the role of Indigenous communities in land stewardship and uphold their rights, including regarding land tenure.
  • Increase international climate finance to developing countries for climate mitigation and adaptation action, accompanied by technology and knowledge transfers to accelerate the green transition.
  • Arrange a minimum of $50 billion a year in loss and damage funds for nations hit hardest by the climate crisis.

Corporate governance and key industrial sectors

  • Hold businesses accountable for the human rights and environmental abuses taking place in their supply chains, applying a legally binding process of mandatory due diligence and the concept of “failure to prevent”.
  • Require mandatory carbon disclosure from any large company operating in their country.
  • Reform agriculture to be biodiversity friendly, ending the clearing of forests and peatlands for agriculture and cutting out harmful pesticides.
  • Promote plant-based diets where possible, particularly in wealthy nations with access to diverse sources of protein, encouraging consumers who have the option to move away from animal products to do so, in particular from the most carbon-intensive food, such as beef.
  • Drive an economy-wide programme of innovation and investment in low-carbon construction and set high standards for the sustainability for all new housing.

Read the full manifesto here.