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Many faces, many frames : exploring the dimensions of justice and climate change policy decision-making Klinsky, Sonja


Climate change presents profound justice dilemmas because of its asymmetrical costs and benefits. This is complicated by the tendency of both climate change and justice to change their appearance across contexts. This dissertation explores how arguments about justice are used in debates about how climate policy should be designed. Part A focuses on how arguments about justice have been used in debates about ideal architectures for international climate policy. A framework for analysing international climate policy proposals is developed using literature from both the philosophy and policy analysis communities. This analysis identifies three archetypal approaches to climate change policy at this level, each of which has potential justice implications. Part B explores public perceptions of justice in mitigation and adaptation climate policy contexts. This section creates and applies a methodology to explore the arguments about justice considered relevant by lay public participants in a series of climate policy decision dilemmas. Among other results, this part highlights the importance of framing in considerations of justice in climate policy. Finally, Part C explores climate policy dilemmas currently faced by policy insiders at the sub-national level, and cross-examines the views policy-insiders and the public think each other have on these issues. This part of the thesis identifies a range of specific justice dilemmas at the sub-national level. It also suggests that mis-communication between policy insiders and the public may limit the range of climate policies considered politically feasible. Four lessons emerge from this dissertation. First, justice is pragmatically important when developing climate policy. Second, there has been a systemic lack of integration across academic, policy and public communities on questions of justice and climate policy. Third, climate change and justice have multiple faces. How climate change policy decisions are framed will shape the arguments stakeholders are likely to consider relevant. Finally, methodologically a mixed methods approach may be of use in other similarly ambiguous research contexts. Overall, explicit recognition of the importance and complexity of justice in climate policy decision-making may help us design more effective and desirable climate policies.

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