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Climate Justice: Examining Recent Developments


March 10, 2017


Washington, DC (and webinar)

An ELI Public Seminar

Climate justice can be defined generally as addressing the disproportionate burden of climate change impacts on poor and marginalized communities. It seeks to promote more equitable allocation of the burdens of these impacts at the local, national, and global levels through proactive regulatory initiatives and reactive judicial remedies that draw on international human rights and domestic environmental justice theories. Yet, efforts to define climate justice as a field of inquiry can be elusive and underinclusive because the concept is so vast in scope.

“Climate Justice: Case Studies in Global and Regional Governance Challenges” seeks to fill that void, providing an overview of the landscape of climate justice from a variety of legal and geographic perspectives in a case study format. The book analyzes climate justice from an international law perspective and legal responses to promote climate justice in several regions of the world, including Pacific island nations, South Asia, North America, Africa, and the Middle East. It addresses proposed solutions to a range of regulatory obstacles under international law, U.S. law, and foreign domestic law in seeking to promote climate justice on a global scale.

This seminar began with discussions of recent atmospheric trust litigation in the U.S., and the Urgenda case in the Netherlands, as examples of the advantages and limitations of using domestic courts to promote climate justice objectives. It then addressed topics outside the litigation context by exploring the climate justice implications of the new differentiation model between developed and developing nations as reflected in the Paris Agreement and the human rights dimensions of global deployment of bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS). The editor and three contributing authors of Climate Justice: Case Studies in Global and Regional Governance Challenges addressed the important and timely topics contained in this recent publication.

Randall S. Abate, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Professor of Law, Florida A&M University College of Law (moderator)
Dr. Wil Burns, Founding Co-Director, Forum for Climate Engineering Assessment, School of International Service, American University, and Senior Fellow, Centre for International Governance Innovation's International Law Research Program
Dr. Patricia G. Ferreira, Postdoctoral Fellow, Centre for International Governance Innovation’s International Law Research Program
Maria Tigre, Environmental Law Attorney, Cyrus R. Vance Center

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