Climate justice is a dynamic concept that transforms agendas for policy and social change.
Climate justice expresses a collision between the long history of the biosphere and its geology, and the much shorter history of social change and human justice. At a practical level it embodies the necessary meeting point between the science of climate change and the politics of social change. Most importantly it enacts the socio-ecological relations beyond the prevalent climate-society divide.
Climate justice is both expansive and normative. It reflects the expanding logic of climate change as a phenomenon that subsumes social relations. As it cascades through societies, climate change generates normative imperatives and recasts political agendas, for instance around concepts of ‘just transition’ or ‘energy democracy’.
The concept is grounded in North-South divides, in terms of the global injustices of climate change. At the same time it points to inter-generational responsibilities, to the wider context of social inequality and cultural rights, and to issues of ecological justice. It is a dynamic concept that transforms agendas for policy and social change.
Climate justice started to emerge and gain political traction in the early 2000s, initially from climate action movements and NGOs. It is now taken up by a wide variety of players, including UN agencies, and in academia, from international relations, international law, and geography to international sociology. This new centre aims to advance its development.