How Should We Think about Climate Justice?

Environmental Ethics 35 (2):189-208 (2013)
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Climate change raises questions of justice. Some people are enjoying the benefits of energy use and other emissions-generating activities, but those activities are causing other people to suffer the burdens of climate change. Political philosophers have begun to pay more attention to the problem of “climate justice.” However, contributors to the literature have made quite different methodological assumptions about how we should develop a theory of climate justice and defend principles of climate justice. So far, there has been little systematic or detailed discussion of these methodological issues. One way to approach these issues is by developing a methodological framework for thinking about climate justice, or more specifically, a five-stage framework, drawing on recent work on two issues: first, the distinction between “ideal” and “non-ideal” theory; and second, the distinction between “integrationist” and “isolationist” approaches to environmental and climate justice. This methodological framework can also be used to inform critical analysis of extant theories of climate justice, for example, through a critical discussion of two key features of the theory of climate justice developed by Simon Caney



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