Climate justice: between Mammon and Mother Earth

Mandy Meikle, Jake Wilson, Tahseen Jafry

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    Purpose
    This paper aims to contribute to the ethical debate over roles and responsibilities to address the injustices of climate change and its impacts. The current impasse over taking action may lie in the very different ways people view the world and their place in it. The aim is to explore some profound contradictions within differing strands of knowledge feeding into common understandings of climate justice.

    Design/methodology/approach
    A literature review of appropriate peer-reviewed and “grey” literature was conducted with a view to defining the term “climate justice”.

    Findings
    In addition to there being no single, clear definition of climate justice, a fundamental schism was found between what indigenous peoples want to see happen and what industrialised nations can do with respect to both the mitigation of, and adaptation to, climate change.

    Research limitations/implications
    One limitation to defining climate justice, and reason for publishing, is the lack of peer-reviewed work on this topic.

    Practical implications
    This paper has many practical implications, the most fundamental of which is the need to reach a consensus over rights to the Earth’s resources. If humanity, within which there are many societies, chooses to follow a truly equitable path post 2015, industrialised countries and corporations will need to move away from “endless growth economics”. The ways in which climate justice might be operationalised in future are considered, including the concept of a “climate-justice” checklist.

    Originality/value
    While the reconciliation proposed in this paper might be considered idealistic, unless it is acknowledged the Earth’s resources are limited, over-exploited and for all people to use sustainably, thus requiring a reduction in consumption by individuals relatively affluent in global terms, climate negotiators will continue talking about the same issues without achieving meaningful change.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)488-504
    Number of pages17
    JournalInternational Journal of Climate Change Strategies and Management
    Volume8
    Issue number4
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 15 Aug 2016

    Keywords

    • climate change
    • ethical debate
    • knowledge
    • sustainable development
    • human rights
    • equity
    • climate justice

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