Locating justice in a warming world: developing notions of climate justice in the UK and the USA
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This paper analyses the development and application of notions of climate justice by non-governmental groups (NGOs) within two Western developed nations. I argue that the development of the discourse of climate justice in each society is shaped by historical circumstances, existing discourses of environmental justice, and the political orientations of the society vis a vis, the international arena. In the case of the United Kingdom, a strong, existing, shared understanding amongst NGOs around social justice predisposed civil society towards accepting the notion of climate justice. The societal understandings of social and environmental justice within the United Kingdom around social and economic disadvantage has shaped their interpretation of climate justice. Additionally, the outward looking orientation of UK civil society has influenced their conception of climate justice as being a predominantly international, rather than domestic, issue. In contrast, the conception of climate justice in the United States of America has been interpreted quite differently. The understanding of environmental justice that underpins the discourse of climate justice in the USA is informed by the work of Bullard (Bullard 1983, 1990, 1993, 1994, 1995), and others, on environmental racism. Thus, climate justice is shaped by previous understandings of environmental justice around the economic, social and health disadvantage suffered by peoples of colour in North America from environmental issues. Moreover, the inward looking orientation of US civil society has influenced their conception of climate justice as being a predominantly domestic, rather than international, issue.