Non-ideal climate justice

Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy 22 (2):221-234 (2019)
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Based on three recently published books on climate justice, this article reviews the field of climate ethics in light of developments of international climate politics. The central problem addressed is how idealised normative theories can be relevant to the political process of negotiating a just distribution of the costs and benefits of mitigating climate change. I distinguish three possible responses, that is, three kinds of non-ideal theories of climate justice: focused on (1) the injustice of some agents not doing their part; (2) the policy process and aiming to be realistic; and (3) grievances related to the transition to a clean-energy economy. The methodological discussion underpinning each response is innovative and should be of interest more generally, even though it is still underdeveloped. The practical upshot, however, is unclear: even non-ideal climate justice may be too disconnected from the fast-moving and messy climate circus.

Author's Profile

Eric Brandstedt
Lund University


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