CFA: Climate Justice and [Political, Moral, Economic] Feasibility (deadline: Nov. 30, 2019)

Issues regarding equity and justice in mitigating and adapting to climate change have been prominent since the start of international negotiations. Their importance have been enshrined in various policy documents, including the UNFCCC treaty’s principle of common-but-differentiated-responsibilities. At the same time, both activists and scholars across various disciplines have developed a number of perspectives on what justice demands in this context, often finding current action grossly insufficient.

Yet, over the last thirty years very little has been achieved in terms of global emissions reductions and commitment of adaptation funding, never mind achieving action that might even approximate principles of climate justice. Moreover, the IPCC has recently concluded that if major reductions in emissions are not achieved in ten years time, the world as a whole will be committed to dangerous levels of warming and all of its consequences. Thus, we find ourselves in a moment of urgency with which we are frighteningly unprepared to cope. Indeed, a survey of the current political landscape could lead one to think that humanity is less-suited to confront the problem than ever before.

Against this background, we may wonder to what extent should those working to better understand or achieve climate justice think about the feasibility or viability of their theories and proposals in a real world context. This volume will address this and related questions. In particular, the goal of this collection of essays is to start a conversation on the question of feasibility between scholars, policymakers, and activists. Doing so may help to make theoretical work more relevant, and further, the diagnosis of feasibility constraints may allow us to better address them, minimize their influence, or open new possibilities for action on climate change. We invite authors to submit abstracts that address one of the below questions and/or other relevant topics.

Abstracts should be 750-1000 words in length, and should explicitly address how the essay will fit within the aims and ends of the volume as a whole. Interested authors should send their abstract (.doc or .pdf) to Corey Katz ( and Sarah Kenehan ( no later than November 30, 2019. In the interest of anonymous review, please leave off identifying information. Please note that Rowman & Littlefield International has expressed interest in this project.

Potential Questions:

Should theorists of climate justice be concerned with the feasibility of achieving their proposal? Or should normative theorizing be divorced from such concerns? Theoretically, how should we understand a “realistic climate justice utopia” and what are its prospects? Or, when it comes to being “realistic” in this context, ought we to simply give up any concern with justice whatsoever?

What sorts of feasibility constraints are there when it comes to achieving just climate action (e.g. political, economic, moral, technological)? How should we go about analyzing or specifying these constraints and how they interact?

Which actors have duties to attempt to ameliorate or address these feasibility constraints and why?

What strategies exist for ameliorating or addressing these feasibility constraints and what are their prospects? E.g. social movement activity, disobedience and direct action, nonstate and NGO activity, building global partnerships, carbon taxes/markets, etc.

How should theorists balance concerns of urgency with adherence to moral ideals in this context? How can we avoid succumbing to moral cynicism or simply making an apology for the status quo when trying to take issues of feasibility into account?

In addition, we welcome feasibility assessments of relevant policy proposals in local, regional, national or international contexts, e.g.: The Paris Treaty and its developing governance architecture; the Green New Deal in the United States; proposals outlined in Drawdown (Hawken 2017); various carbon tax or trading schemes.

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