Published online by Cambridge University Press: 21 December 2012
This article lays out a capabilities and justice-based approach to the development of adaptation policy. While many theories of climate justice remain focused on ideal theories for global mitigation, the argument here is for a turn to just adaptation, using a capabilities framework to encompass vulnerability, social recognition, and public participation in policy responses. This article argues for a broadly defined capabilities approach to climate justice, combining a recognition of the vulnerability of basic needs with a process for public involvement. Such an approach can be used to engage stakeholders with varied perceptions of what is at risk, and to develop priorities for adaptation policy. It addresses both individual and community-level vulnerabilities, and acknowledges that the conditions of justice depend on a functioning, even if shifting, environment.
1 Commission, Climate, The Critical Decade: Climate Science, Risks and Responses (Canberra: Climate Commission, 2011)Google Scholar; climatecommission.gov.au/topics/the-critical-decade/.
4 Breena Holland has also developed a capabilities approach to environmental and climate justice, though there are key distinctions between our efforts: Holland's work is more specifically focused on environment as an instrumental support system for human needs, while the current piece more broadly addresses the contrast with other notions of climate justice, the role of recognition, and applications to communities and the nonhuman realm. See Holland, Breena, “Justice and the Environment in Nussbaum's ‘Capabilities Approach’: Why Sustainable Ecological Capacity Is a Meta-Capability,” Political Research Quarterly 61, no. 2 (2008), pp. 319–32CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Holland, Breena, “Environment as Meta-Capability: Why a Dignified Human Life Requires a Stable Climate System,” in Thompson, Allen and Bendik-Keymer, Jeremy, eds., Ethical Adaptation to Climate Change: Human Virtues of the Future (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 2012), pp. 145–64Google Scholar.
5 See, e.g., Agarwal, Anil, Narain, Sunita, and Sharma, Anju, “The Global Commons and Environmental Justice—Climate Change,” in Byrne, John, Glover, Leigh, and Martinez, Celia, eds., Environmental Justice: International Discourses in Political Economy—Energy and Environmental Policy (Piscataway, N.J.: Transaction Publishers, 2002), pp. 171–202Google Scholar; Kartha, Sivan, “Discourses of the Global South,” in Dryzek, John, Norgaard, Richard, and Schlosberg, David, eds., The Oxford Handbook of Climate Change and Society (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011), pp. 504–20Google Scholar; Neumayer, Eric, “In Defence of Historical Accountability for Greenhouse Gas Emissions,” Ecological Economics 33, no. 2 (2000), pp. 185–92CrossRefGoogle Scholar; and Shue, Henry, “Global Environment and International Inequality,” International Affairs 75, no. 3 (1999), pp. 533–37CrossRefGoogle Scholar.
6 Jamieson, Dale, “Climate Change and Global Environmental Justice,” in Miller, Clark A. and Edwards, Paul N., eds., Changing the Atmosphere: Expert Knowledge and Environmental Governance (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 2001), pp. 287–307Google Scholar; and Singer, Peter, One World: The Ethics of Globalization (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2004)Google Scholar.
7 Singer, One World, p. 43.
8 Derek Bell makes a similar argument regarding different needs, and calls the per capita approach an oversimplification; see Bell, Derek, “Does Anthropogenic Climate Change Violate Human Rights?” Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy 14, no. 2 (2011), pp. 99–124CrossRefGoogle Scholar.
9 Caney, Simon, “Cosmopolitan Justice, Rights, and Global Climate Change,” Canadian Journal of Law and Jurisprudence 19, no. 2 (2006), pp. 255–78CrossRefGoogle Scholar; and Caney, Simon, “Climate Change, Human Rights, and Moral Thresholds,” in Humphreys, Stephen, ed., Human Rights and Climate Change (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010), pp. 69–90Google Scholar.
10 EcoEquity, “Greenhouse Development Rights” (2008); Ecoequity.org/GDRs; emphasis in original.
13 Young, Justice and the Politics of Difference, p. 18.
14 Fraser, Justice Interruptus, p. 14.
16 For discussion of this more psychological approach to recognition, see Honneth, Axel, The Struggle for Recognition: The Moral Grammar of Social Conflicts (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1995)Google Scholar; and Taylor, Charles, Multiculturalism (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1994)Google Scholar.
18 Figueroa, Robert M., “Bivalent Environmental Justice and the Culture of Poverty,” Rutgers University Journal of Law and Urban Policy 1, no. 1 (2003), pp. 27–42Google Scholar; Peña, Devon, “Identity, Place and Communities of Resistance,” in Agyeman, Julian, Bullard, Robert D., and Evans, Bob, eds., Just Sustainabilities: Development in an Unequal World (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 2003), pp. 146–67Google Scholar; Schlosberg, David, “The Justice of Environmental Justice: Reconciling Equity, Recognition, and Participation in a Political Movement,” in Light, Andrew and de-Shalit, Avner, eds., Moral and Political Reasoning in Environmental Practice (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 2003), pp. 77–106Google Scholar; Schlosberg, David, Defining Environmental Justice (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007)CrossRefGoogle Scholar; and Whyte, “The Recognition Dimensions of Environmental Justice in Indian Country.”
20 See, e.g., “The Anchorage Declaration” of the Indigenous Peoples' Global Summit on Climate Change. Such a focus is also clearly part of the discourse of affected states, local social movements, and international NGOs—the actual political discourse of climate justice encompasses recognition more so than the academic literature on the concept.
21 They highlight the “local material and symbolic contexts in which people create their lives, and through which those lives derive meaning” and show that it is those “contexts” that are threatened by climate change. Adger, W. Neil et al. , “This Must Be the Place: Underrepresentation of Identity and Meaning in Climate Change Decision-Making,” Global Environmental Politics 11, no. 2 (2011), pp. 1–25CrossRefGoogle Scholar.
23 Sen, Amartya, Commodities and Capabilities (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999)Google Scholar; Sen, Amartya, Development as Freedom (New York: Anchor, 1999)Google Scholar; Sen, The Idea of Justice; Nussbaum, Martha C., Women and Human Development: The Capabilities Approach (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000)CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Nussbaum, Martha C., Frontiers of Justice: Disability, Nationality, Species Membership (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2006)Google Scholar; and Nussbaum, Creating Capabilities.
24 Nussbaum, Women and Human Development, p. 71.
26 Defined politically as “being able to participate effectively in political choices that govern one's life; having the right of political participation, protections of free speech and association,” in Nussbaum, Creating Capabilities, p. 34.
27 See Holland, “Justice and the Environment in Nussbaum's ‘Capabilities Approach,’” and Holland, “Environment as Meta-Capability,” for the former, and Schlosberg, David, “Justice, Ecological Integrity, and Climate Change,” in Thompson, Allen and Bendik-Keymer, Jeremy, eds., Ethical Adaptation to Climate Change: Human Virtues of the Future (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 2012)Google Scholar, pp. 165–84, for the latter.
28 Sen, Development as Freedom, p. 70.
30 Nussbaum, Frontiers of Justice.
32 Holland, “Justice and the Environment in Nussbaum's ‘Capabilities Approach’”; and Holland, “Environment as Meta-Capability.”
33 Nussbaum, Women and Human Development, p. 80.
34 Hanna, Elizabeth G., “Health Hazards,” in Dryzek, John S., Norgaard, Richard, and Schlosberg, David, eds., The Oxford Handbook of Climate Change and Society (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011), pp. 217–23Google Scholar.
35 Leckie, Scott, Simperingham, Ezekiel, and Bakker, Jordan, eds., Climate Change and Displacement Reader (London: Routledge, 2012)Google Scholar.
36 Holland, “Environment as Meta-Capability.”
37 Holland, “Justice and the Environment in Nussbaum's ‘Capabilities Approach,’” p. 328.
38 Nussbaum, Women and Human Development, p. 74.
39 Page, Climate Change, Justice, and Future Generations; and Page, “Intergenerational Justice of What.”
40 Figueroa, Robert M., “Indigenous Peoples and Cultural Loss,” in Dryzek, John, Norgaard, Richard, and Schlosberg, David, eds., The Oxford Handbook of Climate Change and Society (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011), pp. 232–50Google Scholar. For another discussion of a community-level approach to capabilities, in particular as applied to indigenous environmental justice, see Schlosberg, David and Carruthers, David, “Indigenous Struggles, Environmental Justice, and Community Capabilities,” Global Environmental Politics 10, no. 4 (2010), pp. 12–35CrossRefGoogle Scholar.
41 Schlosberg, “Justice, Ecological Integrity, and Climate Change.”
44 See, e.g., Rasmus Heltberg and Misha Bonch-Osmolovskiy, “Mapping Vulnerability to Climate Change,” World Bank Policy Research Paper 5554 (2011); Climate Commission, The Critical Decade; the Food Insecurity and Vulnerability Information and Mapping System (fivims.net); and Maplecroft's Climate Change Vulnerability Index (maplecroft.com/about/news/ccvi.html).
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