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Climate Justice, Climate Change Discourse, and the Failure of the Elite-Driven Democracy: A Think Piece

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Authors
Burkett, Maxine
Issue Date
2010
Publisher
서울대학교 미국학연구소
Citation
미국학, Vol.33 No.2, pp. 1-24
Keywords
Climate ChangeClimate JusticeClimate VulnerableIndustry ElitesCap-and-TradeClimate Ethics
Abstract
Communities across the globe experience, and will continue to experience, climate change impacts unevenly. The most vulnerable-the ‘climate vulnerable’ in the U.S. and abroad-are set to suffer first and worst. Public concern in the United States at the collapse in livelihood of the vulnerable is, however, absent. Instead, the belated climate discourse has been dominated by talk of “caps,” “trades,” and “costs to the average consumer.” This is the result of who has had the power to frame the content and pace of the climate change discourse. Indeed, in the context of the climate crisis, two kinds of American elites emerge: (i) the powerful industry leaders who have been a continuing obstacle to addressing climate impacts, particularly vis-à-vis the most endangered; and, (ii) those within the environmental movement who fail to emphasize within the discourse the grave and inequitably distributed human impacts. Because of this active and passive obfuscation of the underlying crisis, the deep challenges to our democratic processes and the ethical framework that undergirds them become clear. At present, the United States and its elites endorse a notion of justice and fairness in its democratic processes of law and governance. Yet the invisible plight of the ‘climate vulnerable’ exposes an obvious failure. Emergent climate justice theory addresses the issues and concerns that arise from the intersection of climate change with race, poverty and pre-existing environmental risks. Climate justice, as I will demonstrate, provides a means to understand the moral dilemma at the base of the climate crisis and helps craft sound methods of repair for the climate ulnerable-all the while aiding in the (re)construction of a true democracy.
ISSN
1229-4381
Language
English
URI
http://hdl.handle.net/10371/88663
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Researcher Institutes (연구소)American Studies Institute (미국학연구소)미국학미국학 Volume 33 Number 1/2 (2010)
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