Climate "witnesses" from Bangladesh, Peru, the South Pacific, and Uganda testified at the world's first climate change hearing, held during the international climate conference in Copenhagen last December. The hearing, organized by Oxfam International and Action for a Global Climate Community, was designed to put climate change victims--those whom climate change affects the most yet who have contributed least to the problem--at the center of the climate debate, according to Oxfam Executive Director Jeremy Hobbs.
The concept of "climate justice" was widespread at the United Nations-sponsored talks in the Danish capital. "Fourteen percent of the world population has produced 60 percent of the world's carbon emissions since 1850," said Mary Robinson, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, at the hearing. "The poorest have the least role in causing climate change yet they are being hit first, hardest, and worst."
Pelenise Olafa, a community leader from the island nation of Kiribati, called for increased support for the South Pacific islands, where the highest land area lies only four meters above sea level. "We are on the front line and may be the first countries to go down," Olafa said. "Don't we understand that climate change is not...