Seeking Justice: International Environmental Governance and Climate Change

This article examines social justice aspects of international environmental governance, analysing adaptation to climate change as an example. The article first discusses how international environmental regimes have been examined, suggesting that understanding them as responses to environmental conflicts better highlights their social justice aspects. The article argues that distributive and procedural justice in the society of states and in cross-level linkages are the key areas of social justice in international environmental governance. The article identifies responsibility for climate change impacts and assistance to vulnerable developing countries as the key distributive justice issues in adaptation to climate change. Key procedural justice issues in adaptation include the weak capacity of developing countries to protect their interests in international negotiations and the inability of local groups to participate in decisions that affect them. The article suggests that a uniform carbon tax replenishing a combined compensation and assistance fund and a procedure for addressing local grievances would rectify the regime’s greatest shortcomings.

Paavola J (2005) , Globalizations, 2, pp.309-322.