Climate justice in the UK

Reconciling climate change and equity issues in policy and practice in a developed country context

Authored by: Katharine Knox

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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This chapter will examine the concept of climate justice and its application in the UK, drawing on the interdisciplinary research programme of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, which has examined the social impacts and social justice implications of climate change in the UK since 2008. The chapter will explore what climate justice means in a UK context, with reference to the sustainable development agenda and goals. It will focus in particular on how climate change may create injustice in a developed country context, considering both the direct and indirect impacts of climate change, as well as issues around responsibility for carbon emissions. It will highlight issues of procedural and distributional injustice in causes and consequences for communities. It will introduce and explore the concept of “climate disadvantage” as a product of underlying issues of social vulnerability combined with exposure to climate impacts. The chapter will explore the evidence base on climate injustice in the UK and discuss emerging policy and practice responses and the extent to which these are addressing social vulnerability and equity issues, considering both mitigation and adaptation agendas. It will highlight the ongoing challenges that climate change poses for issues of poverty and disadvantage in the UK and the importance of linking social and environmental agendas to effect change. It will argue that while climate justice is often seen as an international and developing world issue, it is also an agenda that is a critical issue for developed countries including the UK.

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