Low carbon communities and social justice

2012 viewpoint paper for JRF by Harriet Bulkeley and Sara Fuller, Durham University

Are principles of social justice being embedded within low carbon communities?

Debates about climate change have focused on mitigation – reducing greenhouse gas emissions – and have been concerned with how responsibilities for taking action and rights to protection should be distributed.

This Viewpoint argues that recognition, as well as rights and responsibilities, is a dimension of justice that needs to be considered in decision-making processes at community level.

It asks whether community-based approaches to climate change live up to expectations and looks at:

  • how the notion of justice might be conceptualised in the context of climate mitigation and low carbon communities;
  • how current UK low carbon community policies and programmes address issues of justice; and
  • how two low carbon communities have encountered issues of justice in practice.