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Sustainable Energy for All? Assessing Distributive Justice in the Green Climate Fund’s Energy Finance

Authors: Diana Dorman*, University of Colorado, David Ciplet, University of Colorado-Boulder
Topics: Energy, Development, Environment
Keywords: Energy access, energy justice, distributive justice, Green Climate Fund, climate finance
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/6/2020
Start / End Time: 11:10 AM / 12:25 PM
Room: Virtual Track 1
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

There is growing international attention to the goal of universal energy access. Despite this, large financial gaps remain a major obstacle for realizing global energy justice for all communities. Drawing upon political theories of global distributive justice, this article develops and applies a framework for how multilateral development assistance for energy projects can be evaluated in relation to three guiding principles. First, the ‘global difference principle’ asserts that resources should be distributed to maximize the condition of the least well-off humans and individuals, communities and countries with the greatest need. Second, the ‘local benefits’ principle asserts that resources should be distributed in ways that enhance local public goods at least as much as they enhance global public goods. Third, the ‘global equality of opportunity’ principle asserts that resources be distributed to ensure that peoples’ opportunities are not worsened by their class, culture, gender, race, nationality, ruralism, or other demographic characteristics. We apply this framework to analysis of finance for all energy projects within the Green Climate Fund (GCF) from 2015-2018. We find that the GCF is failing to achieve distributive justice in energy finance and is reproducing distinct inequalities related to energy at a global scale.

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