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

Working Paper 5/2021

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.