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
human rights, property, critique, ambivalence, exclusion v excludability, ‘worlds other’, environment, eco-humane subjectivities
While some accounts of rights and property paradigms see property as an inherent incident of a colonizing form of human rights law and discourse, others draw out the contradictions between them, suggesting that human rights and property have opposing impulses towards inclusion and exclusion respectively. While not rejecting the insights of either of these positions, the author argues that a fundamental ambivalence lies at the heart of human rights law and discourse demonstrating both oppressive and emancipatory potential. This ambivalence is, the author argues, also internal to the Western property concept – a claim facilitating a renewed emphasis upon property’s inclusory potential as an institutional foundation for a more eco-humane and vulnerability-responsive ordering of legal relations.
(2013) 3/2 Journal of Human Rights and the Environment 173-195
Human rights, property and the search for ‘worlds other’