Climate justice, climate injustice, co-option, critique, legal subjectivity, corporate juridical privilege, legal complicity, human rights, critical reflexivity
The recent high-level emergence of ‘climate justice’ in the normative and policy discourse addressing the social and legal aspects of climate change is welcome. However, certain dangers of co-option face the concept as it gains institutional traction. Drawing on a critical theoretical reading of the patterns of climate injustice and their relationship with liberal legal subjectivity (and with the related themes of the politics of dis/embodiment, corporate juridical privilege, (neo)colonialism and the highly uneven structure of globalized world order), this article argues that ‘climate justice’ is more likely to sustain the necessary resistive critical energies if informed by critical legal reflection on historical and contemporary patterns of climate injustice, particularly as they emerge in relation to the privileged trope of liberal legal subjectivity and the juridical privileging of the corporate form. Future policy directions indicated by the analysis are briefly introduced.
(2014) 0 Journal of Human Rights and the Environment 103-133
Towards ‘climate justice’? A critical reflection on legal subjectivity and climate injustice: warning signals, patterned hierarchies, directions for future law and policy
Kathleen Birrell and Lee Godden and Maureen Tehan
Carbon markets, Indigenous peoples, forest subsistence, REDD+, co-option, neo-colonialism, competing property conceptions
The rapid emergence of carbon markets internationally, and rising concerns about the impact of such schemes on Indigenous and local community interests, rights and traditional knowledge, present a strong need to examine legal regulation, protection and promotion of equitable outcomes for the effective engagement of Indigenous peoples and local forest subsistence communities in climate change mitigation. This is particularly so in the context of Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD and REDD+ as it later became known) – a scheme that will significantly affect the ‘property’ rights and interests of such communities. The pace and enthusiasm for investment in, and implementation of, this scheme necessitate scrutiny of the foreseeable consequences at a local level, including the potential of this global project to act as a form of neo-colonialism, co-opting Indigenous and local community interests where the value of the carbon ‘offset’ may not accrue to local inhabitants of the forested areas. Accordingly, this paper seeks to present a series of fundamental questions raised by the programme, particularly in respect of differing conceptions of property, as it uniquely relates to and impacts upon Indigenous peoples.
(2012) 3/2 Journal of Human Rights and the Environment 196-216
Climate change and REDD+: property as a prism for conceiving Indigenous peoples’ engagement