Aikuinen ja lapsi katselevat tuulivoimaloita pellolla

No climate justice without deliberative democracy

What is climate justice and how can it be defined? Why does justice need deliberative democracy? These questions were discussed on Monday 21st of June, when professor John Dryzek’s gave a keynote talk titled “Deliberating Climate Justice” in FACTOR and PALO projects’ joint webinar. The speech was partly based on professor Dryzek’s and Ana Tanasoca’s newly published book “Democratizing Global Justice – Deliberating Global Goals” (Cambridge University Press).

In his talk professor Dryzek outlined the multiple conceptions of climate justice and ways to seek a common definition for it. His main argument was that deliberation is the best means for determining climate justice. Inclusive deliberation can, for instance, reconcile competing conceptions of justice, support the recognition and participation of disadvantaged groups and curb the tendency to interpret justice in favor of one’s material self interest. It also enables more effective determination of what justice should mean.

According to professor Dryzek, inclusive deliberative processes are needed to empower the necessary agents to determine what climate justice should entail in a given context. Especially lay citizens and the poor and marginalized should be included in these deliberations. Also the roles of social-ecological systems and the nonhuman world as well as future generations need to be emphasized. Professor Dryzek’s message was: no climate justice without deliberative democracy.

Comments to professor Dryzek’s talk were given by Simon Caney, professor in political theory at the University of Warwick. Professor Caney reflected upon the relationship between deliberative democracy and climate justice and brought up the challenges of taking future generations into account in deliberation. Professor Dryzek concluded that no system can guarantee that future generations’ interests are considered, but it is possible to identify institutions which succeed in this better than others.