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Climate Action Planning and Justice(s) I

Type: Paper
Sponsor Groups: Human Dimensions of Global Change Specialty Group, Cultural and Political Ecology Specialty Group, Climate Specialty Group
Organizers: Hélène DUCROS, Brian Petersen
Chairs: Hélène DUCROS


Cities across the country and the world have increasingly initiated climate action processes and plans, which have led to significant academic attention (Rice 2010). A particular aspect of climate action planning that has generated interest is in the ways in which it intersects with the notion of justice. Although justice in the context of cities has a rich lineage (Harvey 1973, Fainstein 2014), the nexus between justice and climate action planning remains under studied. In this session, we seek to explore this intersection by unveiling and developing its theoretical underpinnings, as well as highlighting practice-based experiences. Most cities have integrated the term “justice” into their climate action plans, but their understanding of it, implementation processes, and results remain unclear (Bulkeley et al. 2013). In fact, initial analyses suggest that justice stands at the periphery of climate action planning (Finn and McCormick 2011). In this session, we seek to spotlight how justice and injustice play out in climate action planning at different scales.
Climate change and justice are both complex and contested terms that simultaneously hold broad appeal. On the other hand, climate action planning is mostly place-based. Thus, integrating universals into local action through the design of effective climate planning poses significant challenges, which provide an opportunity for scholars to weigh in on the conversation. In the session, we seek to engage in the debate by furthering theoretical and methodological progress, while simultaneously producing insights that will be useful to practitioners. We anticipate the session will include theoretical and practical analyses on topics broadly related to justice and climate action planning, as well as more focused papers on key case studies.


Bulkeley, H., J. Carmin, V. C. Broto, G. A. S. Edwards, and S. Fuller. 2013. "Climate justice and global cities: Mapping the emerging discourses." Global Environmental Change-Human and Policy Dimensions 23 (5): 914-925.

Fainstein, S. 2014. "The just city." International Journal of Urban Sciences 18 (1): 1-18.

Finn, D., and L. McCormick. 2011. "Urban climate change plans: how holistic?" Local Environment 16 (4): 397-416.

Harvey, D. 1973. Social Justice and the City. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.

Rice, J. L. 2010. "Climate, Carbon, and Territory: Greenhouse Gas Mitigation in Seattle, Washington." Annals of the Association of American Geographers 100 (4): 929-937.


Type Details Minutes Start Time
Introduction Brian Petersen Northern Arizona Univ. 5 12:00 AM
Presenter Brian Petersen*, Northern Arizona Univ., Justice(s) in climate action plans 15 12:00 AM
Presenter Emma French*, University of California, Advancing environmental justice through local climate change planning 15 12:00 AM
Presenter Dominic Wilkins*, Syracuse University, Climate Action Planning in Atlanta, Ga., and the Catholic Church 15 12:00 AM
Presenter Elena Lioubimtseva*, Grand Valley State University, Community engagement and equity in climate adaptation planning: experience of small and mid-size cities in the United States and in France. 15 12:00 AM
Discussant Melissa Kenny University of Warwick 10 12:00 AM

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