Social justice and climate change

Consider two population groups: a well-off urban majority burning fossil fuels, and a subsistence rural minority, in danger of losing access to food and water if the climate changes. There is a triple injustice in climate change:

  • The rural minority has not been responsible for the greenhouse gas concentrations causing climate change, nor has it benefited from the comfort & power provided by fossil energy services.
  • The rural minority will suffer the most from climate change because of droughts & floods, and it cannot buy its way out of the problem.
  • The cost-benefit neoclassical approach to the problem sets aside the equity aspect and under-represents the harm caused to low-income subsistence minority in its proposed policies.
Relevant papers:

Barker, T., Scrieciu, Ş. & Taylor, D., ‘Climate change, social justice and development’, Development (2008) 51: 317.

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