Climate justice and global cities

mapping the emerging discourses

Harriet Bulkeley*, JoAnn Carmin, Vanesa Castán Broto, Gareth A S Edwards, Sara Fuller

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

81 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Ever since climate change came to be a matter of political concern, questions of justice have been at the forefront of academic and policy debates in the international arena. Curiously, as attention has shifted to other sites and scales of climate change politics matters of justice have tended to be neglected. In this paper, we examine how discourses of justice are emerging within urban responses to climate change. Drawing on a database of initiatives taking place in 100 global cities and qualitative case-study research in Philadelphia, Quito and Toronto, we examine how notions of distributive and procedural justice are articulated in climate change projects and plans in relation to both adaptation and mitigation. We find that there is limited explicit concern with justice at the urban level. However, where discourses of justice are evident there are important differences emerging between urban responses to adaptation and mitigation, and between those in the north and in the south. Adaptation responses tend to stress the distribution of 'rights' to protection, although those in the South also stress the importance of procedural justice. Mitigation responses also stress 'rights' to the benefits of responding to climate change, with limited concern for 'responsibilities' or for procedural justice. Intriguingly, while adaptation responses tend to stress the rights of individuals, we also find discourses of collective rights emerging in relation to mitigation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)914-925
Number of pages12
JournalGlobal Environmental Change
Volume23
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2013

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