Climate change is not the only time humans have been faced with historically rooted, collective action challenges involving justice disputes. Transitional justice is one set of tools that has been adapted to many specific conflicts at the interface of historical responsibility and imperatives for new collective futures. However, lessons from these processes have not been examined for the climate context, although they could provide useful insights for developing acceptable approaches for reconciling past-oriented concerns about historical responsibility with future-oriented desires for broader and deeper collective action. This working paper is not proposing a full “transitional justice” process for climate policy: it is initiating a discussion about which, if any, particular strategies or tools developed within the transitional justice arena might be applicable to the climate problem. This first working paper is focused on the international level, but it is possible that transitional justice experiences may also be useful within domestic policy arenas when dealing with issues such as negative impacts of inappropriate mitigation action, or when trying to design policies that share compensation or benefits.
Type: Working papers