A Research Agenda for Climate Justice
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A Research Agenda for Climate Justice

Edited by Paul G. Harris

Climate change will bring great suffering to communities, individuals and ecosystems. Those least responsible for the problem will suffer the most. Justice demands urgent action to reverse its causes and impacts. In this provocative new book, Paul G. Harris brings together a collection of original essays to explore alternative, innovative approaches to understanding and implementing climate justice in the future. Through investigations informed by philosophy, politics, sociology, law and economics, this Research Agenda reveals how climate change is a matter of justice and makes concrete proposals for more effective mitigation.
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Chapter 5: National climate-mitigation policy: the spatial framing of (in)justice claims

Ian Bailey


This chapter examines how notions of justice are contested in national climate politics and how competing conceptualizations of justice have shaped progress in developing policies to decarbonize economies. The particular focus is the use of spatial anchors to legitimate justice arguments for or against new climate measures. Evidence from Australia, New Zealand, the US and UK indicates that advocates of stronger mitigation policy frequently emphasize broader-scale concerns about the responsibility of wealthier countries to act, while those seeking to obstruct or dilute climate initiatives often stress national welfare, (in)action by other countries, or local justice concerns. The proficiency of climate-policy opponents in constructing spatially and socially recognizable discourses about the injustices of climate action creates major impediments to low-carbon transitions and climate justice’s influence on political agendas. To increase the impact of climate justice, the chapter advocates greater attention to representing justice arguments for climate mitigation in spatially imaginative ways.

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