This is a draft introduction to a book-in-progress entitled Justice Will Save Us: Why Justice Holds the Key to Solving the Climate Crisis, by Alex Lenferna. The aim is to complete the book by the end of 2021. The author is still working to find a book publisher, so there is no publication date yet.

Art work by Amanda Costa, “Just Recovery Cosmos”

When the world as we know it seems like it is going to end, humanity tends to look for saviours.

Spandex superheroes saving the day from cataclysm are household names. In literature, the hero figure emerges time and time again on an epic quest against…


By Alex Lenferna

Community members gather in Soweto to plan the mass marches. Photo credit: Lebohang Phanyeko

Published in the Sunday Times on the 1st of March, 2020 here.

On the 25th and 26th of February, people of Soweto along with other low income communities across Gauteng protested against Eskom — South Africa’s beleaguered national energy utility. Among a number of issues, Sowetans are protesting getting cut off from electricity as a result of not paying the rates they owe to Eskom.

Many in the media are blaming Soweto for the Eskom crisis, claiming that their non-payment of electricity is driving the Eskom crisis. However, what many are missing is that Soweto’s non-payment is…


Late last year, Cliff Mass, the controversial weatherman and University of Washington (UW) Professor, started a firestorm in the climate denial community and alt-right media by complaining to them that he was the target of persecution and bullying for his political beliefs and was having his freedom of speech threatened. The reasons for these bogus and unsupported claims were four main events. After listing those events, in this article I debunk Mass’s claims that he is being persecuted:

1) On November 21st, a polite letter from the Assistant Dean of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (Ross, 2018) was sent to the…


Weatherman Cliff Mass has teamed up with Big Oil to try kill Initiative 1631, but if you are about climate change, don’t listen to them, Vote Yes on 1631.

Washington voters who open their voting guides will be in for a surprise when they see a lone atmospheric scientist standing shoulder-to-shoulder with Big Oil to oppose Initiative 1631 — a plan to make polluters pay for their pollution, and invest in clean energy and clean air, clean water and vibrant forests, and healthy and resilient communities.

That lone scientist is Cliff Mass, the controversial UW weatherman. Big Oil is using him as a prop in their messaging to claim that they have scientific support, he is their token scientist. However, as this article explains, Cliff’s opposition stems from an…


*An abridged version of this piece appeared in The Daily, and is available here

The oil industry likes to pretend that they are just meeting the demand for fossil fuels. Like a drug dealer, they tell us that they are just supplying the product, and we, like addicts, are the ones demanding their product. Recognizing our fossil fuel problem, a broad coalition of Washingtonians is trying to ensure a just transition away from fossil fuels and towards a clean energy future through Initiative 1631, which will be on the ballot in November. Instead of allowing us to get clean, the…


12 American cities and counties are suing fossil fuel companies for climate reparations, but they are also some of the biggest contributors to the problem. To avoid hypocrisy and injustice, those suing should also recognize and pay their climate debt to those most vulnerable to climate change.

[This is a longer version of an article which appeared in Climate Home News]

Oil and gas companies are finally having their day in court for their campaigns of misinformation and delay on climate change. New York City, San Francisco, and most recently King County in Washington State, are among twelve U.S. cities…


Australia’s fossil fuel exports are incompatible with the Paris Climate Agreement targets, forcing the world into a trilemma between climate chaos, stranded assets and unjust climate action.

[This is a longer version of a piece which appeared in Renew Economy]

Australia has been ranked as the worst-performing country in the world on climate action. According to the recently released Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Index, years of delay, inaction, and fossil fuel promotion have taken Australia to dead last if we take into account domestic GHG emissions; emissions embodied in goods consumed; climate vulnerability; & exported emissions from fossil fuel exports.


State Capitol — Olympia, Washington (Photo Courtesy of 350 Seattle)

On Monday the 8th of January, the Washington State Legislature opened their legislative session for the year. Their usual, mundane, and somewhat self-congratulatory proceedings were met with disruptions and occupations as climate justice activists stormed the capitol. Over 200 concerned Washingtonians from across the state converged on the capitol, and filed into the legislature’s open proceedings.

A few minutes into the proceedings a rumble began to stir. Then, from one side of the room, a crowd of citizens in red shirts shouted: “We have a climate crisis”. Across the hall came the reply: “You need to act now”. Four…


UC Berkeley American studies professor Michael Cohen once called on us to reclaim the word douchebag as referring to “someone — overwhelmingly white, rich, heterosexual males — who insists upon, nay, demands his white male privilege in every possible set and setting”.

Well, it seems that the climate change debate has found its douchebag, none other than the New York Times’ columnist Bret Stephens.

In the wake of Hurricane Harvey, floods in South Asia, and mudslides in Sierra Leone, which have cumulatively killed thousands and displaced tens of millions, Stephens thought it would be a great idea to write an…


Picture borrowed from: http://pandemocracy.org/grabyourwallet-boycott/

“Trump is known to like walls. Maybe a wall of carbon tariffs around the US is a solution he will understand”

— Jeremy Wates, Secretary General of the European Environmental Bureau.

After multiple delays, and the building up of a twisted reality television-like suspense, Donald Trump has finally announced that he will take America out of the Paris Climate Agreement. Among all the fluster of his presidency, this may be one of Trump’s most consequential decisions, and the one with the most long-lasting negative, if not disastrous, impacts. In response, it is time the global community consider boycotting America.

In…

Alex Lenferna

Alex Lenferna is secretary of the Climate Justice Coalition & campaigner with 350Africa.org. He has a PhD on climate justice from the University of Washington.

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