Climate Adaptation and Theories of Justice

Archiv für Rechts- und Sozialphilosophie (2016, Forthcoming)

Univ. of San Francisco Law Research Paper No. 2016-01

24 Pages Posted: 15 Nov 2015 Last revised: 25 Jan 2016

Alice Kaswan

University of San Francisco - School of Law

Date Written: November 1, 2015

Abstract

In this essay, prepared in connection with an international symposium on philosophy, law, and environmental crisis, I argue that theories of justice can facilitate the impassioned and critically important national and international debates about what constitutes climate adaptation injustice and, where such injustice is identified, clarify debates about who is responsible for providing adaptation assistance. I identify the ways in which domestic and international climate vulnerability is a reflection of underlying socioeconomic vulnerability and provide a brief sketch of the types of adaptation policies at issue. I then analyze variants of corrective and distributive justice and their implications for adaptation policy, both internationally and domestically, and note the importance of participatory engagement. I conclude by arguing that distributive injustice – the facts on the ground – should be the starting point for determining entitlement to assistance, and that theories of corrective justice (through the polluter pays principle) and distributive justice (through the ability to pay principle) shape responsibility for providing that assistance.

Keywords: climate change, adaptation, environmental justice, climate justice, corrective justice, distributive justice

Suggested Citation

Kaswan, Alice, Climate Adaptation and Theories of Justice (November 1, 2015). Archiv für Rechts- und Sozialphilosophie (2016, Forthcoming); Univ. of San Francisco Law Research Paper No. 2016-01. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2689813

Alice Kaswan (Contact Author)

University of San Francisco - School of Law ( email )

2130 Fulton Street
San Francisco, CA 94117
United States
(415) 422-5053 (Phone)

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