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Climate Change and SocietySociological Perspectives$
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Riley E. Dunlap and Robert J. Brulle

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780199356102

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199356102.001.0001

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Climate Justice and Inequality

Climate Justice and Inequality

Chapter:
(p.127) 5 Climate Justice and Inequality
Source:
Climate Change and Society
Author(s):

Sharon L. Harlan

David N. Pellow

J. Timmons Roberts

Shannon Elizabeth Bell

William G. Holt

Joane Nagel

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199356102.003.0005

Climate change is a justice issue for three reasons. First, its causes are driven by social inequalities: most politically, culturally, and economically marginalized communities and nations use vastly less fossil fuel-based energy. Second, the rich and poor feel its impacts unequally; this is true locally, nationally, and globally. Third, policies designed to manage climate change—including renewable energy sources, adaptation measures, and geoengineering schemes—will have starkly unequal impacts within and across societies. This is in part because decision-making processes for emissions reductions and adaptation policies tend to exclude the politically marginalized. Sociologists are advancing understanding in these areas and in studying the ideas and strategies of grassroots social movements and nongovernmental organizations advocating for environmental justice. Sociologists bring an essential, unique toolkit to explore, explain, and help society address climate inequality and injustice. Sociology needs to initiate and foster interdisciplinary cooperation in the development of theory, methods, and substance.

Keywords:   climate justice, climate policy, environmental justice, social inequality, social movements, sociology

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