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7 J. Hum. Rts. & Env't. 1 (2016)

handle is hein.journals/jhre7 and id is 1 raw text is: 

Journal of Human Rights and the Environment, Vol. 7 No. 1, March 2016, pp. 1-6


In the  shadow of Paris: theories of justice and principles of harm

With  the Paris Conference  of the Parties to the UN Framework   Convention  on
Climate Change   due to get underway  as this edition goes to press, we cannot yet
know  how  the surging call for 'climate justice' will have been advanced by the
time you  read this - if at all. What is clear, and likely to remain so, however, is
that the work of meeting the inexorable demands of those dispossessed by climate
change, and those in the anteroom of dispossession, has barely begun. This edition
of the Journal of Human Rights and the Environment features a rich range of analysis,
theoretical inquiry and practical suggestion that will prove of immense help, perhaps
most especially once the clamour of climate justice demands reaches a pitch that can
no longer be ignored. The edition places climate justice in the context of the broader
terrain of 'environmental justice' and human rights, and publishes the views of a
select group of scholars addressing both the big picture and the policy detail.
   Setting the scene, Upendra Baxi canvasses a family of ideas characteristic of con-
temporary justice concerns. He identifies these as three 'theories' - of global justice,
environmental justice and climate justice respectively.
   Locating 'global justice' largely within the recent surging cosmopolitan literature
(though he distinguishes utilitarian and deontological strains in passing), Baxi notes
that the principal concern in these theories is neither with inter-state settlement of conflict,
nor with intra-state distributive justice, but with cross-border distributive dilemmas.
Human   rights feature in contemporary global justice accounts, but not primarily -
Baxi perceptively observes - by reference to international human rights law; instead
it is the 'moral idea of human rights' that animates these theorists. And yet, while
divided on which particular justice questions ought to be foregrounded, theorists of
global justice are apparently united, he notes, in their 'determination to keep the num-
ber and nature of moral rights as human rights to as few as possible'. For Baxi, the rise
of the Anthropocene  'aggravates the tasks of global distributive justice', making it
increasingly difficult to ignore not only the striking injustice of the incoming climatic
ordering, but also raising the stakes for older calls for redress - for the wrongs of
'colonization and imperialism  of the Westphalian, and contemporary,  Cold  War
and war on  terror eras'. Climate justice - in its first oblique appearance here - is
suffused with the claim of the past on the present.
   For Baxi, 'environmental justice' involves the recognition of environmental 'pro-
blems' - waste, pollution, ecosystem degradation - as affecting socially vulnerable
and marginalized persons and peoples in particular, and of the role of racism in allo-
cating the burdens of environmental damage. This still recent tradition has added 'to
the notion of justice also that of fair and equal participation of the impoverished
and the indigenous peoples and concepts of fair procedural justice'. Baxi mentions
in passing the cognate  notion of sustainable development,  suggesting that it is
'more a matter of policies of governance ... than an agendum of justice'. Crucially,
however, he  insists that environmental justice must always co-exist with the axiom

0 2016 The Author                         Journal compilation 0 2016 Edward Elgar Publishing Ltd
                                  The Lypiatts, 15 Lansdown Road, Cheltenham, Glos GL50 2JA, UK
                        and The William Pratt House, 9 Dewey Court, Northampton MA 01060-3815, USA

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