Disability and Climate Action
Persons with disabilities are often disproportionately impacted by climate change. Similarly, climate action seldom takes the requirements of persons with disabilities into account, and the representative organisations of persons with disabilities (DPOs) are rarely involved in decision-making processes about this work.
Why and how?
The exclusion of representative organisations of persons with disabilities (DPOs) from decision-making processes on climate action has serious consequences:
- Greater exposure to risk during events such as typhoons and wildfires, and to more gradual results of changes in weather patterns, for example sea level rise and increased temperatures.
- Lack of access to emergency preparedness relief and response efforts.
- Carbon reduction policies, if they do not consider the requirements of persons with disabilities, can have a negative rather than positive impact, both materially and also financially, for the disability community.
All of these impacts are magnified for people who experience intersecting forms of discrimination, including older people, women, children, indigenous peoples, and underrepresented groups of persons with disabilities, such as persons with intellectual or psychosocial disabilities.
Some opportunities brought by disability inclusion in climate action (that also benefit all of society):
- New investment in green jobs can be targeted to reach people most excluded from the labour market
- Building and renovation of buildings to increase energy efficiency (including housing, education and health facilities and workplaces) should adhere to accessibility standards and incorporate the principles of Universal Design, resulting in a more future proof and resilient infrastructure
- Fully accessible public and private transport is more efficient, both materially and financially
To achieve these benefits, climate policy must be developed and implemented with the meaningful participation of persons with disabilities, through their representative organisations.
Current priorities at policy level
- COP 26 will take place November in Glasgow, UK
- The EU launched its “Green Deal” in 2020 and has been implementing different initiatives under the strategy such as the “Renovation Wave”, the Smart and Sustainable Mobility Strategy, the revision of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive, all of which directly affect persons with disabilities.
Disability Inclusive Climate Justice Video
Produced by the European Disability Forum and CBM Global Disability Inclusion. Participants in the video came from all regions of the world to share on two aspects:
- The impact of climate change on persons with disabilities
- The impact persons with disabilities can have in contributing to climate action, by being part of the solutions and the way forward
Who is EDF working with on disability and climate action?
- EDF is working with the European Commission’s different services to give feedback and support on sustainable and inclusive policies
- EDF is European Focal Point for the Global Thematic Group on Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Action (TG-DRRCA)
- EDF is part of the Disability-Inclusive Climate Action Research Program (DICARP) Advisory Panel
- EDF participates in other informal multi-stakeholder groups on climate action and disability, such as the “Just Transition Alliance” led by SOLIDAR, and the cluster on climate action of the Conference on the Future of Europe
Latest news on disability and climate justice
Accessibility, Green Deal, transport
Joint open letter on the European Union’s Urban Mobility Framework
EDF joined UITP and 11 other associations calling on the European Commission to adopt an Urban Mobility Framework...Read more
Climate Action, International cooperation
UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) - Towards a green and inclusive future
The 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) is taking place in Glasgow from 31 October...Read more
Climate Action, International cooperation
Why does climate justice matter for persons with disabilities?
This article was first published on Carbon Brief in October 2021. People with disabilities have long been recognised...Read more
Resources and publications
EDF Position Paper on an Inclusive Green Deal for Europe – May 2020