Joyeeta Gupta was the lead author on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, IPCC, for which she received the Nobel Prize in 2007. She is also co-chair of the Earth Commission. This group of scientists from around the world is trying to chart a course for Earth, based on scientific insights, toward a stable and prosperous future. She now also works as Professor of Environment and Development in the Global South at the University of Amsterdam.
Joyeeta Gupta realized how unfairly the world was divided in terms of rules and money during the Bhopal toxic disaster in 1984. More than two thousand people died in one night. The disaster was caused by Union Carbide, an American multinational company that produces pesticides in India. To save money, that company didn’t follow all kinds of safety rules. I have since realized that multinational companies in India can do whatever they want. The money went to the US, but the risks were to India.
Joyeeta Gupta will use the Spinoza Prize, worth around €1.5 million, to work on a global constitution. Comprehensive law is needed to ensure global climate and environmental justice, to which countries are committed and in which nature, biodiversity and human rights have a place. The world must be committed to ensuring that other countries are not harmed, from the local to the global level. If this happens, you must take responsibility for it. Joyeeta Gupta hopes that the constitution will provide a way to avoid such conflicts.
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