Read this blog in: DeutschEspañol, Português

If you had asked us on October 6th about our plans for the UN climate talks to be held in Dubai, from the 30th of November to the 12th of December we would have responded with the following: this is an opportunity to envision the world we want; our role as a climate justice movement is to inspire people, and urge world leaders to build this world. 

Now, more than a month into the horrific violence in Israel and Gaza, would our answer change? What does it mean to plan for the UN climate talks when civilians are forced to leave Gaza, when ambulances, hospitals and refugee camps are being bombed, and thousands of children’s lives are in danger? 

What does it mean to speak about climate justice when synagogues are being burnt down in the US and Europe, and Muslims globally are facing hate speech, amidst a terrifying surge in antisemitism and Islamophobia

How can we contribute to supporting those who want to break the cycle of violence, while grieving the loss of life, including of innocent civilians? 

There is a central thread that connects our work in the climate movement to what is unfolding in Gaza: the need to reclaim our agency, and the power to choose. We need to oppose the idea that there are no alternatives. There are alternatives to climate change; there are alternatives to war. The role of social movements is to point out these choice points when they’re obvious, identify them when they’re not, or even spotlight new options. 

The horrors of this war are being used to divide the climate movement and specifically its active youth leaders. Prominent voices are being attacked: some accused of antisemitism for voicing support for Palestine; others have been asked to part ways with the climate movement altogether. A divided climate movement will certainly limit our options, and reduce our impact towards building a better world.

Climate justice is directly linked to peace. It is about acknowledging that we need to build a more harmonious relationship to our environment, rather than one based on extraction. It is about supporting communities that have been directly affected by the causes – as much as by the consequences – of climate change: extraction, pollution, and extreme weather disasters.

In direct opposition to peace, the revenue generated by fossil fuel extraction plays a disturbing role in funding conflicts old and new. The fossil fuel industry has always fought against the right to self-determination; communities who wish to protect their lands from resource extraction, both at home and abroad, are often met with state violence. The amount of money some nations spend on wars, and on the enabling of resource extraction, directly impacts how much is available for a just transition to renewable energy. Those are the alternatives to fund instead.

Whether it’s the burning planet, or the Gaza strip being bombed, our responsibility is to stop it, to cease all these fires. We urgently need to make the choice – to restore the conditions for a just peace, and to pave the way for justice. 

Climate change is a collective problem, one that must be addressed by working together. Communities will converge in Dubai for COP28 in order to solve that problem, a mere 1500 miles away from a war zone. It is worth noting that the US and China recently affirmed joint goals for climate action in the leadup to COP28. In the current context, this can be interpreted as a powerful signal: of climate talks offering common ground for often adversarial countries whose cooperation is critical to the climate fight. Surely we can be more united as a movement than they are as political bodies!

The climate movement’s plans for the UN climate talks are intended to offer an alternative to our unequal world – to develop and promote people-owned renewable energy solutions. While we pursue this vision, we also recognise that there can be no climate justice without peace and human rights – which begins with backing the calls for an immediate ceasefire, respect for international humanitarian and human rights law, and the provision of humanitarian access and support. It remains our only option to avert further loss of civilian life and humanitarian catastrophe. 

Only then can we continue to emphasise that there is always a choice, an alternative. Alternatives to climate change, to war, to colonialism, to hatred, to antisemitism and Islamophobia. For this is the only way we can achieve a world in which everyone has the right to live, have access to land, to water, to clean air; in which each and everyone’s individual and collective rights would be fulfilled. For this to happen, we need to cease all fires, for climate justice and peace.


Endorsed by the following organisations: 

  • 350 Pilipinas
  • ActionAid International
  • Alliance of Non Governmental Radical Youth (ANGRY)
  • Asian Peoples' Movement on Debt and Development (APMDD)
  • Attac France
  • Avaaz
  • Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL)
  • Climate Generation
  • Conflict and Environment Observatory (CEOBS)
  • Corporate Europe Observatory
  • Fridays for Future India
  • Fridays for Future Lebanon
  • Fridays for Future MAPA
  • Greek Association of Conscientious Objectors
  • Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF)
  • Oil Change International
  • Oxfam International
  • Publish What You Pay
  • Razom We Stand
  • Surge Africa
  • Youth Advocates for Climate Action Philippines (YACAP)
  • Youth and Environment Europe

If your organization would like to sign onto this letter please add your name via the form below:



For more climate movement news, follow 350 on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram