From the dirty past to the clean future

Addressing historic energy injustices with a just transition to a low-carbon future

Authored by: J. Mijin Cha

Routledge Handbook of Climate Justice

Print publication date:  November  2018
Online publication date:  November  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138689350
eBook ISBN: 9781315537689
Adobe ISBN:


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The negative economic and social consequences of decarbonisation on communities and workers dependent on fossil fuel extraction must be a fundamental concern of climate justice. This chapter begins with an overview of environmental justice and climate justice claims to position the impacts on fossil fuel communities and workers as a climate justice concern. In particular, the disproportionate health impacts and economic dependence imposed upon energy-extracting communities and workers is an injustice that must be addressed. Furthermore, within the ideal climate justice, the impact of greenhouse gas reduction efforts on fossil fuel-extracting communities and workers is a necessary consideration that must be as important as emissions reductions in order to achieve a just transition to a low-carbon economy. Without this consideration, the solutions to climate change will, in and of themselves, become drivers of inequality, which will ultimately hinder progress on climate change. The Ruhr region in Germany successfully transitioned the region’s economy away from carbon-intensive industries and can provide lessons for the future.

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