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Justice and Climate Transitions


Climate justice is especially important with regard to the policies we adopt to transition to a low carbon society. All transitions will inevitably create winners and losers and part of achieving a just transition is ensuring that benefits are distributed in the right way between groups within and between societies. For instance, a transition to a low carbon society will impose financial costs, deliver energy infrastructure, and impose lifestyle constraints. All of these measures have the potential to unfairly burden the already disadvantaged if they are not designed with principles of justice in mind.

One of the key questions that this research will consider is how broad the goals of a climate transition ought to be. For instance, the goal of many transition plans is primarily to reduce GHG emissions. More ambitious transition plans advocate aiming for justice-based goals such as reducing inequality, increasing access to energy, or fulfilling obligations to undeveloped countries or disadvantaged groups. Other goals include: avoiding conflict due to resource scarcity, reducing energy costs and protecting the disadvantaged. Related questions include:

  • What are the moral issues associated with different ownership models (public/private) of new renewable energy infrastructures? Do certain models of infrastructure deployment (household solar) have benefits such as increased household autonomy?

  • To what extent ought a transition to a low carbon economy include maximal moral considerations such as increasing equality or reducing poverty?
  • What role does community or individual endorsement play in deciding whether to develop and deploy new technologies?
  • Do we have duties of compensation to employees in industries displaced by climate transitions?

Recent events

We recently held the ‘Justice and Climate Transitions’ event as an official part of the COP21.

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