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17 Asia Pac. J. Envtl. L. 111 (2014)
Carbon Trading for Climate Justice

handle is hein.journals/apjel17 and id is 113 raw text is: Carbon Trading for
Climate Justice?
Rebecca Pearse*
Abstract
Is carbon trading a just policy response to climate change? To answer this
question, I begin by proposing necessary conditions for a just emissions
trading scheme. It should lower emissions, and distribute burdens fairly.
The Australian carbon trading scheme did not meet these conditions. The
trading scheme legislated via the Clean Energy Future reforms included a
minimal level of emissions reduction and allowed for heavy use of carbon
offsets; and industry compensation has increased the wealth of some of
the most emissions-intensive fossil fuel companies. While the carbon
price legislation has been repealed, these issues remain relevant.
Emissions trading is an established policy preference of government and
advising experts and is therefore likely to be revived in the future. In
conclusion, I offer a further objection to carbon trading on the basis of
inappropriate commodification. We should go beyond technical-ethical
moral assessment of the legislation and consider the broader social impact
of marketised climate policy in Australia.
I Introduction
The debate about carbon pricing in Australia has fundamentally been about
morality and justice in a changed climate. The design and implementation of
climate policies alter both the distributive relationships between social groups,
and society's relationship to the carbon cycle. Key moral tensions behind climate
policy stem from the fact that the nations, communities and social classes in the
global South that are least responsible for climate change are also most
impacted by it. Designing climate policy risks 'double injustice', where
disadvantaged social groups become disproportionately affected by both the
Rebecca Pearse is a PhD Candidate in the School of Social Sciences at the University of New
South Wales, and research assistant at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS). Email:
beck.pearse gmail.com
I use the term 'global' before South here to move past the state-centric definition of inequality
and signal the complex geography of disadvantage. Placing the term 'global' before North and
South operates as a qualification of the common distinction between the industrialised
'developed' North and less-developed 'South'. It recognises that within both Northern and
Southern nations there are disparities of wealth between elite social classes and marginal groups.

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