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Justice in adaptation to climate change

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Title: Justice in adaptation to climate change


1
Justice in adaptation to climate change
  • Neil Adger
  • Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research
  • University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK
  • n.adger_at_uea.ac.uk

2
Linking justice and environmental change
  • There will be no lasting peace while there is
    appalling injustice and poverty. There will be no
    genuine security if the planet is ravaged by
    climate change
  • Tony Blair - Concerted international effort
    necessary to fight climate change 24th February
    2003.

3
What is justice?
  • Distributive justice or equity - the distribution
    of beneficial and adverse consequences (welfare,
    impacts, etc.) of an act or choice.
  • Procedural justice - the way in which decisions
    are made. Whose interests count? Who can
    participate?How is power distributed among those
    that can participate?
  • Distributive and procedural justice can focus on
    one overarching consequence or principle, or
    acknowledge multiple consequences or principles

4
Dilemmas of Climate Justice
  • Mitigation issues
  • Historical responsibility (international)
  • Burden sharing rules (international)
  • Impacts of domestic mitigation measures (local
    scale)
  • Impact and adaptation issues
  • Spatial distribution of impacts (local to global)
  • Social distribution of resilience and adaptive
    capacity (local to global)
  • Threats to non-human species (universal)

5
Analysing justice in climate change adaptation
Two year strategic assessment examining Justice
in international conventions Justice in
adaptation policies Justice in everyday
adaptation actions
 


6
What is adaptation?
  • Adaptation is (usually) purposive action
  • Adaptation is adjustment in ecological, social
    or economic systems in response to actual or
    expected climate stimuli and their effects or
    impacts. to moderate damages or to benefit from
    opportunities associated with climate change

7
Justice criteria
  • Utilitarianism e.g. Pareto rules on maximising
    aggregate welfare
  • Rawlsian maximin / difference principles
  • Simple equality distribution according to even
    division across population
  • Desert fairness determined by contribution to
    public good

8
Justice and the atoll island nations
  • With global sea level rise, when will islands be
    uninhabitable (what criteria)? There are five
    nations wholly atolls.
  •  
  • Expectations and risk impacts of expectations
    of abandonment on investment, and insurance.
  •  
  • Sustainable utilisation of renewable and
    non-renewable natural resources utilise to
    extinction and deplete to zero
  •  
  • Expectations of future over-exploitation leads to
    breakdown in present day collective action
  • Source Barnett and Adger (2003) Climatic Change
    61, 321-337
  •  

9
Justice and the atoll island nations
  • Global action as implied by Rawls Theory of
    Justice
  • 1 just actions - maximise the welfare of the most
    vulnerable
  • application of difference principle to global
    action would lead all countries acting as if
    their states would cease to exist
  • 2 Rawls veil of ignorance
  • states would act as if there were an no prior
    knowledge of which state disappears?
  • 3 But Rawls theories hold only for individuals,
    not collective action, imply risk aversion in
    decision-making, etc
  • Source Barnett and Adger (2003)

10
Justice in the Context of Adaptation
Justice field Examples of criteria Issues
Distributive Welfare consequences benefit to most vulnerable (maximin) decisive in allocating costs and benefits Principles regarding security, avoidance of danger, and rights of non-humans Who defines and how Danger Vulnerable groups?
Procedural How procedures and practices recognise interests define rights to voice concerns and to participate distribute power and constrain its use and guarantee fair process. How defined and by whom? Should outcomes matter in choice of procedures?
11
Components of external and internal definitions
of dangerous climate change
Source Dessai et al. (2003) at www.tyndall.ac.uk
12
Physical thresholds for externally defined
dangerous climate change
L Large-scale eradication of coral reef systems
(ONeill and Oppenheimer, 2002) 2.      
Disintegration of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet
(Vaughan and Spouge, 2002) 3.       Breakdown
of the thermohaline circulation (Rahmstorf,
2000) 4.       Qualitative modification of
crucial climate-system patterns such as ENSO and
NAO 5.       Climate change exceeding the rate
at which biomes can migrate (Malcom and Markham,
2000)
13
Social thresholds for externally defined
dangerous climate change
.       Depopulation of sovereign atoll
countries 8.   Additional millions of people at
risk from water shortage, malaria, hunger and
coastal flooding 9.       Destabilisation of
international order by environmental refugees
and emergence of conflicts 1 World impacts
exceeding a threshold percentage of GDP
14
Observations on Justice in Local Adaptation
Justice Manifestations
Distributive Adaptation strategies often reduce the vulnerability of the wealthy and vested interests at the expense of the marginalised. Reactive responses in particular reinforce inequality. Danger and vulnerability are not evenly distributed.
Procedural Adaptation strategies skewed to protecting the well-off are usually based on skewed decision-making. Marginalised groups are made more vulnerable because they are excluded from decision-making.
15
Observations on Justice in International Law on
Adaptation
Justice Manifestations
Distributive Duty to assist developing countries to participate in UNFCCC and the most vulnerable countries to adapt to climate change (Articles 3.2 and 4.8-9). Special climate change fund, adaptation fund, least developed countries fund, and the CDM levy (Marrakech). - Leaves the level and distribution of support unclear
Procedural Least developed countries expert group and funds. Guidelines requiring broad public consultation in national planning processes for adaptation.
16
Towards a ranking of principles consistent with
sustainable development
1 Maximin principle Resources for adaptation for the most vulnerable
2 Simple equality Equal distribution of the means of adaptation
3 Desert Contribution to social goals supported
4 Utilitarian Greatest adaptation per unit resource input
17
Implications of this ranking
International action on adaptation Anticipatory planning for adaptation
1 Maximin principle Funding targeted to most vulnerable countries Identification of most vulnerable individuals, sectors, regions
2 Simple equality Equal amount of assistance to eligible countries under Convention Investment only in public good provision benefiting all citizens equally
3 Desert Conditionality governance, emissions targets etc Investment in public good (cultural heritage, conservation)
4 Utilitarian Assistance to those advanced in planning Investment in mobilised sectors and greatest vested interest
18
Judging whether adaptation is sustainable
  • Justice is one element
  • Efficiency (e.g. cost effectiveness)
  • Effectiveness (e.g. reduction of risk, impact on
    well-being)
  • Equity
  • Legitimacy

Justice
19
Conclusions
  • Justice has distributive and procedural
    implications
  • 1 for the UNFCCC rules
  • 2 for national planning for adaptation
  • 3 for regulation of individual adaptation
    actions
  • Justice in mitigation is mirrored in justice in
    adaptation
  • Pluralism is necessary for multi-dimension,
    multi-values area of adaptation
  • Monism more desirable for international law
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