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Sam Adelman

This chapter analyses tropical forests as objects of neoliberal environmental governmentality regimes which combine a range of discourses, rationalities and techniques and legal regimes with the aim of conserving them as sources of livelihoods and carbon sinks by treating them as sources of profit best managed by market forces. The chapter discusses the discourses of green governmentality and ecological modernization and the degree to which technology enables forests to be subject to surveillance, monitored and measured and their inhabitants subjected to market discipline under REDD+ regime. It examines indigenous rights and the unexpected inclusion of REDD+ as a standalone Article in the Paris Agreement. A discussion of the vexed relationship between international environmental law and neoliberal environmental governmentality is discussed provides the basis for the conclusion that conflicting principles and inadequate enforcement mechanisms limit the efficacy of international environmental law and suggest that effective forest governance which safeguards the interests of forest dwellers ultimately depends as much on political will as legal regulation. Keywords: climate change; green governmentality; indigenous peoples; international environmental law; REDD+;sustainable development; tropical forests

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Sam Adelman

This Chapter discusses dominant views of nature in Western culture, the ways in which these have been exported throughout the world, and their effect on the environment. The central argument is that solutions to the planetary wide ecological crisis and climate crises are impeded by ideologies that fetishize growth and technology, such as developmentalism, extractivism and neoliberalism. These ideologies are buttressed by epistemologies of mastery that reinforce the false assumption that humanity can exercise dominion over nature without repercussions. The first section draws upon the lucid critique offered by ecofeminists such as Lorraine Code and Val Plumwood in order to examine impulses to mastery in patriarchal power and assumptions about human dominion over nature. Section 2 argues that epistemologies of mastery are forms of coloniality, a process of physical and mental colonization. Walter Mignolo’s view that un-thinking such epistemologies of mastery requires decolonial or border thinking is discussed, along with Boaventura de Sousa Santos’s concept of an ecology of knowledges that dethrones science as the acme of Western rationality on the basis that there are many ways of being, knowing and seeing, and that knowledge does not invariably lead to wisdom. The final section begins with a discussion of technological fetishism as the basis for an analysis of geoengineering as a contemporary form of hubris that draws attention away from the humbler but more rational alternative of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The Chapter argues that geoengineering risks exacerbating human rights already under threat from climate change, including the rights to food, health, property, family life, the benefits of culture, and to peace and security. Seeking ways to engineer the climate suggests that human beings have learned nothing and forgotten nothing.

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Sam Adelman

Turbo-capitalism threatens to breach several ecological barriers through greenhouse gas emissions, environmental degradation and the exploitation of natural resources. This will intensify food and water insecurity and intensify the vicious cycle of unsustainable development and impoverishment. In this context, this chapter examines the links between justice, impoverishment, neoliberalism and biopolitics through a critique of flawed concepts such as sustainable development and green economy. It examines the scale and dimensions of a series of interconnected crises arising from climate change and environmental degradation. It argues that it is not possible to achieve climate or environmental justice without global justice, distributive justice or gender justice, alternative forms of development and an understanding that justice for human beings is impossible without justice for nature.

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Sam Adelman

This chapter provides an existential critique of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) based upon two main arguments. First, growth-driven development is intrinsically ecologically unsustainable because it destroys ecosystems and breaches planetary boundaries. The SDGs are the latest incarnation of sustainable development, a concept widely criticised as oxymoronic because it erroneously fosters the illusion of combining endless economic growth on a finite planet, social justice, and environmental protection. Second, the SDGs perpetuate an anthropocentric conception of development and sustainability antithetical to effective responses to the rupture of the Earth system in the Anthropocene. The chapter concludes that the model of development envisaged in the SDGs is unlikely to enhance ecological sustainability and thus threatens to increase impoverishment.

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Sam Adelman

Abstract Sovereignty is generally understood to comprise the bundle of powers of nation-states but legal theory rarely captures the complexities of a unique and exceptional power. Historically, the exercise of sovereign prerogatives has resulted in sovereign exceptionalism that prioritises national interests over those of other states and the environment. The governance of tropical forests illustrates the tension between permanent sovereignty over national resources and the need to treat forests as global commons in the interests of all peoples. We can bequeath a habitable planet to future generations or we can choose to perpetuate national interests through sovereignty, but we cannot have both so long as sovereign prerogative trumps common good.
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Edited by Sam Adelman

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Sam Adelman

This article argues that Rio+20 failed because it replicated the failings of sustainable development in the form of green economy. Against a backdrop of discrete but overlapping crises, including the global economic crisis, climate change and a growing crisis of food insecurity, the final text seemed oblivious to the slow wearing out of neoliberalism, dogmatically insisting on the panacea of market-based solutions to climate change and environmental destruction.1 As such, the text symbolizes the epistemological crisis of technoscientific Eurocentric rationality. Using Walter Mignolo's concept of coloniality and Boaventura de Sousa Santos's call for the cultivation of an ecology of knowledges, this article examines the transformative potential of subaltern forms of jurisprudence, such as the People's Agreement on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth. It argues that a significant epistemological shift is required to enable humanity to confront the injustices perpetuated by the vision embodied in the Rio+20 final document.

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Sam Adelman

Low-lying small island developing states are threatened by inundation from rising sea levels caused by anthropogenic global warming. Islanders face the prospect of forcible relocation without protection under international law and with few resources for resettlement. They are entitled to compensation for climate-related loss and damage in the interests of climate justice. The present article discusses the history of proposals for an international compensation mechanism under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change led by the Alliance of Small Island States. These calls led to the establishment of the Warsaw International Mechanism for Loss and Damage Associated with Climate Change Impacts in 2013. Several proposals have been put forward about how a mechanism should operate and achieve its objectives. I argue that climate justice will be promoted through compensation for loss and damage. An international compensation fund offers a relatively simple and ethically satisfactory way of acknowledging the physical loss and psychological damage resulting from climate change and from the extensive violation of islanders’ human rights.

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Sam Adelman

This article discusses arguments that manipulating the Earth's climate may provoke unforeseen, unintended and uncontrollable consequences that threaten human rights. The risks arise from both main types of geoengineering: solar radiation management (SRM) techniques and carbon dioxide removal (CDR). SRM creates particular risks because it is difficult to test on a wide scale and may not be capable of being recalled after deployment. Adequate, enforceable governance structures do not currently exist to assess and regulate the risks of climate engineering, not least whether such technologies can be terminated in the absence of significant emissions reductions. This article is divided into six sections. After the opening introductory section, section 2 discusses the links between climate change and human rights. It briefly outlines the range of rights, including procedural rights, that might be violated by geoengineering. This is followed, in section 3, by an evaluation of the risks of SRM and CDR. The fourth section discusses debates on the ethics of geoengineering. Section 5 critiques hubristic faith in technological solutions. The final section examines the governance of geoengineering and the extent to which international environmental law and human rights law might be used to regulate the research and deployment of geoengineering.

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Kirsten Davies, Sam Adelman, Anna Grear, Catherine Iorns Magallanes, Tom Kerns and S Ravi Rajan

The Declaration on Human Rights and Climate Change responds to the profound crisis of human hierarchies now characterizing the climate crisis. The Declaration, initiated prior to the 2015 COP 21 meeting by scholars from the Global Network for the Study of Human Rights and the Environment (GNHRE), is one of a convergence of initiatives reflecting the need to understand human rights as intrinsically threatened by climate change. This article introduces the Declaration, the necessity for it, its philosophical and legal background and its support by contemporary cases providing evidence of the escalating legal need for such a tool. A key aim of the Declaration is to trace out a potential normative approach for establishing responsibility towards the planet and redressing unevenly distributed vulnerabilities and climate injustices while recognizing that it is vital that respect for human rights should be understood as an indispensable element of any adequate approach to climate change. The Declaration strives to offer a compelling level of ethical appeal, as well as to be legally literate and philosophically rigorous. The drafting process engaged scholars and communities from across the world, prioritized indigenous involvement, and drew on indigenous ontologies and epistemologies. Newer philosophical approaches such as new materialist understandings of lively materiality also informed the drafting process. Accordingly, the language of the Declaration creates space for non-Western ways of seeing and being as well as responding to insights emerging from new scientific understandings of the world.