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Ethics in Science and Environmental Politics

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ESEP 24:1-14 (2024)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/esep00209

Climate change and transformations of justice—Views of just distribution in the Finnish policy debate

Henrik Rydenfelt1,*, Tina Nyfors2

1Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Helsinki, PO Box 54, 00014 Helsinki, Finland
2Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry, University of Helsinki, PO Box 66, 00014 Helsinki, Finland
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Justice is a central concept in the international regime of climate change mitigation and adaptation and in proposals for the transition towards a low-carbon society. However, in documents on climate policy, the notion is seldom explicated in any detail. Research on environmental change has typically advanced specific and diverse visions of justice, and does not yet provide a comprehensive theoretical framework of different alternative notions. In this article, we present such a framework that incorporates 6 central conceptions of distributive justice and which indicates the relations between them. Based on in-depth interviews with a selected group of relevant actors in the debate on climate change in Finland—high-ranking professional politicians, leaders, researchers and activists—we study the interplay of environmental change and notions of justice. We show how articulations of justice can be connected with this framework, enabling the identification of their points of agreement and contention as well as their main lines of redefinition and transformation that stimulate acceptance and rejection of climate policy.


KEY WORDS: Distributive justice · Climate change · Environmental policy · Equity · Just transition


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Cite this article as: Rydenfelt H, Nyfors T (2024) Climate change and transformations of justice—Views of just distribution in the Finnish policy debate. Ethics Sci Environ Polit 24:1-14. https://doi.org/10.3354/esep00209

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