Working Paper 5/2021

Social justice in the context of climate and environmental policy: Systematising the variety of social aspects, inequalities and justice principles

The paper aims to reveal and systematise the variety of social (justice) aspects in the context of climate or environmental policy and sustainability transitions, with a focus on distributive aspects and with regard to four sub-issues:

  • the basic dimensions of social justice in this context – going beyond the usual typology of distributional, procedural and recognitional justice by explicitly differentiating quite distinct distribution or inequality issues discussed in different streams of literature;
  • taking up the last justice dimension mentioned, the different social effects of climate and environmental policies – firstly, differentiating conceptually between social change processes and social impacts, and, secondly, presenting a categorisation of the latter, covering monetary and non-monetary aspects;
  • the categories or axes on the basis of which distributional effects can be analysed – differentiating between distribution among different social groups, different localities, or across time.
  • the variety of justice principles which may serve as a basis for normatively judging on distributional effects – differentiating between the main principles equality, proportionality, and minimum threshold, with different sub-principles (criteria) within each of the three.