Research Handbook on Climate Governance
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Research Handbook on Climate Governance

Edited by Karin Bäckstrand and Eva Lövbrand

The 2009 United Nations climate conference in Copenhagen is often represented as a watershed in global climate politics, when the diplomatic efforts to negotiate a successor agreement to the Kyoto Protocol failed and was replaced by a fragmented and decentralized climate governance order. In the post-Copenhagen landscape the top-down universal approach to climate governance has gradually given way to a more complex, hybrid and dispersed political landscape involving multiple actors, arenas and sites. The Handbook contains contributions from more than 50 internationally leading scholars and explores the latest trends and theoretical developments of the climate governance scholarship.
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Chapter 8: Normative theory

Edward A. Page


Global climate change raises profound questions for normative theorists. Many, if not all, of these questions arise from the challenge of specifying how benefits and burdens associated with managing climate change should be distributed within and between generations. In this chapter, three interconnected dimensions of this challenge are explored. First, the problem of determining the entitlements of states and their populations to exploit the capacity of the atmosphere to assimilate greenhouse gases (GHGs) (‘justice in mitigation’). Second, the problem of achieving a fair division of benefits and burdens associated with activities aimed at adjusting human behavior avoid the adverse effects of climate changes that cannot, or will not, be avoided through measures of mitigation (‘justice in adaptation’). Third, the problem of assisting vulnerable populations that face climate change related losses and damages that cannot be avoided or educed by measures of mitigation and adaptation (‘justice in loss and damage’). It is argued that achieving justice on each dimension will involve assigning a range of demanding duties to states and other users of the atmosphere.

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