Handbook of European Social Policy
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Handbook of European Social Policy

Edited by Patricia Kennett and Noemi Lendvai-Bainton

This Handbook will comprise of 29 original pieces from key contributors to the field of European social policy. It is intended to capture the ‘state of the art’ in European social policy and to generate and contribute to debates on the the future of European social policy in the 21st Century. It will be a comprehensive and authoritative resource for research and teaching covering themes and policy areas including social exclusion, pensions, education, children and family, as well as mobility and migration, multiculturalism, and climate change.
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Chapter 22: Climate change as a challenge for European welfare states

Mi Ah Schoyen and Bjørn Hvinden


This chapter addresses the implications of climate change for welfare institutions in Europe. We argue that the linkages between social policy and climate change have consequences for what it means to make welfare states sustainable. Against this background, the chapter highlights four types of issues or questions that the research agenda on climate change and the welfare state needs to address: questions or issues of justice and distribution related to the unequal human, social and territorial impacts of climate change; the social consequences of climate policy; welfare state adaptations necessary to meet the direct and indirect consequences of climate change; and political conditions conducive to the reconciliation of ecological and social objectives in advanced and mature welfare states, including a shift towards forms of production, transport and consumption that are less harmful for the climate In conclusion, the chapter offers some reflections on what it will take to make a lasting move towards low-carbon societies in Europe and suggests that welfare state institutions may have a facilitating role in this process. Relatedly, we stress the need for a higher degree of cross-fertilization between scholarship on climate and energy policy and social policy.

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