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 13: Responsibility for climate justice: the role of great powers

Sanna Kopra


The English School of International Relations theory assumes that states form an international society and that great powers have special responsibilities in that society. Although climate change causes risks to international security and justice, the English School has not paid much attention to climate justice – a gap in the literature that this chapter seeks to fill. It proposes that great powers can be expected to shoulder two types of special responsibility for climate change: managerial responsibility to prevent climate-related conflicts undermining international order and leadership responsibility to promote human values through ambitious climate policies globally. However, the UN Security Council, the United States and China have failed to define great power climate responsibilities ambitiously enough to prevent the occurrence of dangerous climate change. Thus, there is an urgent need to develop the English School’s normative viewpoints of great power responsibility.

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