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Framing and Enacting Justice in Low-Carbon Transformations: the Roles of Different Actors

Civil Society
Governance
Climate Change
Teea Kortetmäki
University of Jyväskylä
Teea Kortetmäki
University of Jyväskylä
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Abstract

Calls for urgent and effective low-carbon transition in the industrialised societies evoke a question of roles: what is the role of different actors in fighting climate change? States and the EU are urged to act and create ambitious climate policies, yet this has been slow. The slowness in state-level action has resulted in several non-state forms of non-state climate action that varies from pupil-led climate strikes and grassroots activism to city-level alliances (like ‘C40 Cities’) for climate action as well as private sector initiatives and alliances to foster action on decarbonising societies. Any path of decarbonisation will have significant social, economic, and environmental impacts. The ‘just transition’ discourse in public and research pays attention to the justce impacts and fairness of decarbonization. The question is how the decarbonisation can be made as fairly as possible, avoiding unjust harms or increased inequalities, and how the harmful climate policy side-effects can be minimized or compensated to harmed actors (and when this should be done as an issue of justice). What is the role of different climate actors regarding the justice impacts of low-carbon transition and what is the relationship between state and non-state actors in this regard? The question is particularly pressing in the society where non-state actors have taken an active role in climate initiatives, whereas states are traditionally held responsible for social justice issues. In this paper, I carry out a theoretical examination of the various roles that state and non-state actors may take regarding justice in low-carbon transformations. I also reflect upon the implications of these roles for the just transition.