WG Climate Justice

The 5th IPCC Assessment Report, WG III, Ch. 3 described and assessed the state of research, including on climate justice issues, for the first time in the history of the IPCC. Since 2014, the state of research has evolved. The working group aims to critically discuss the achieved disciplinary and interdisciplinary state of research on climate justice with the involvement of experts and to advance it through its own workshops and publications. Results of the work are to be introduced into the dialogue with stakeholders and the interested public, if this seems reasonable.

The consequences of climate change affect people living today and in the future unequally. Benefits from emissions-generating activities are unequally distributed. People living in the past and those living today have contributed to climate change to different degrees. The basic interests, needs, and rights of many people are already affected by the consequences of climate change. If the transformation to net-zero emissions by 2050 is not successful, the fundamental rights of very many people are likely to be violated by the consequences of climate change. Achieving the goal of net-zero emissions globally will require a high degree of inter- and transnational, as well as transgenerational, cooperation. Individuals, groups and institutions can be and become responsible actors in this transformation to a near-zero emission society in different ways.

In view of this problematic situation, several and interrelated justice questions arise, in particular the questions of

  • the determination of the maximum global emissions budget that is compatible with the protection of the rights of future life
  • the fair allocation of the remaining allowable global emissions budget among states
  • the appropriate compensation for damage that has not been avoided or is no longer avoidableadequate compensation for negative consequences of state actions of transformation, in particular the frustration of legitimate expectations
  • the fair distribution of net burdens from the causes and consequences of climate change and the appropriate management of climate change; i.e., benefits from emission-generating activities, damages and rights violations, costs of mitigation and adaptation measures, and compensatory payments
  • the relationship between moral, legal, economic and democratic criteria of legitimacy of climate change mitigation measures
  • the criteria for evaluating transgenerational and international strategies for dealing with climate change and for assessing the enforceability of long-term political strategies for transformation
  • the conceptualization of inter- and transgenerational as well as inter- and transnational justice for climate change and its consequences as well as for dealing with climate change
  • the prerequisites of an assessment according to principles of intergenerational and international justice in particular, or the question of the limits of such an assessment
  • the extent of responsibility of different types of actors, e.g. individuals, groups and institutions
  • the consideration of the interests of other than human animals, plants, and ecosystems.

List and describe planned activities (rough milestone plan for 1 year).

  • Presentation of the WG Climate Justice at the Climate Day
  • International workshop with colleagues from China and Europe (planned for May 2021)
  • International workshop "Justice in Time" (June 2021)
  • Stakeholder workshop on Legitimate Expectations and Transformation (late summer 2021)Provision of information and expertise on request, e.g. for Fridays for Future
  • PhD students and postdoc colloquia

Head: Lukas H. Meyer (University of Graz)

Participants: Birgit Bednar-Friedl (University of Graz), Wolfgang Benedek (University of Graz), Michael Finus (University of Graz), Stephen Gardiner (Washington University, USA), Günter Getzinger (Graz University of Technology), Angela Kallhoff (University of Vienna), Reinhard Mechler (IIASA), Ulrich Metschl (University of Innsbruck), Kian Mintz-Woo (University College Cork, Ireland), Susana Monso (University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna). Arijit Paul (University of Graz), Daniel Petz (Gadjah Mada University, Indonesia), Adriana Placani (University of Graz), Thomas Pölzler (University of Graz), Barbara Reiter (University of Graz), Dominic Roser (University of Fribourg, Switzerland), Pranay Sanklecha (University of Graz), Oliver Sass (University of Bayreuth), Thomas Schinko (IIASA), Peter Singer (Princeton University, USA), Karl Steininger (University of Graz), Harald Stelzer (University of Graz), Eva Schulev-Steindl (University of Graz), Thomas Thaler (University of Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences), Ivo Wallimann-Helmer (University of Fribourg, Switzerland), Charlotte Werndl (University of Salzburg), Christian Zauner (Parents for Future Austria)