Political feasibility of 1.5°C societal transformations: the role of social justice

James Patterson, Thomas Thaler, Matthew Hoffman, Sara Hughes, Angela Oels, Eric Chu, Aysem Mert, Dave Huitema, Sarah Burch, Andy Jordan

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46 Citations (Scopus)
312 Downloads (Pure)


Constraining global climate change to 1.5°C is commonly understood to require urgent and deep societal transformations. Yet such transformations are not always viewed as politically feasible; finding ways to enhance the political feasibility of ambitious decarbonization trajectories is needed. This paper reviews the role of social justice as an organizing principle for politically feasible 1.5°C transformations. A social justice lens usefully focuses attention on first, protecting vulnerable people from climate change impacts, second, protecting people from disruptions of transformation, and finally, enhancing the process of envisioning and implementing an equitable post-carbon society. However, justice-focused arguments could also have unintended consequences, such as being deployed against climate action. Hence proactively engaging with social justice is critical in navigating 1.5°C societal transformations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-9
JournalCurrent Opinion in Environmental Sustainability
Early online date9 Dec 2017
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2018


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