Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

Climate justice and global cities: Mapping the emerging discourses

Bulkeley, H.A.; Carmin, JoAnn; Castán Broto, Vanesa; Edwards, Gareth A.S.; Fuller, Sara

Climate justice and global cities: Mapping the emerging discourses Thumbnail


JoAnn Carmin

Vanesa Castán Broto

Gareth A.S. Edwards

Sara Fuller


Ever since climate change came to be a matter of political concern, questions of justice have been at the forefront of academic and policy debates in the international arena. Curiously, as attention has shifted to other sites and scales of climate change politics matters of justice have tended to be neglected. In this paper, we examine how discourses of justice are emerging within urban responses to climate change. Drawing on a database of initiatives taking place in 100 global cities and qualitative case-study research in Philadelphia, Quito and Toronto, we examine how notions of distributive and procedural justice are articulated in climate change projects and plans in relation to both adaptation and mitigation. We find that there is limited explicit concern with justice at the urban level. However, where discourses of justice are evident there are important differences emerging between urban responses to adaptation and mitigation, and between those in the north and in the south. Adaptation responses tend to stress the distribution of ‘rights’ to protection, although those in the South also stress the importance of procedural justice. Mitigation responses also stress ‘rights’ to the benefits of responding to climate change, with limited concern for ‘responsibilities’ or for procedural justice. Intriguingly, while adaptation responses tend to stress the rights of individuals, we also find discourses of collective rights emerging in relation to mitigation.


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

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Oct 1, 2013
Deposit Date Jun 10, 2014
Publicly Available Date Jul 16, 2014
Journal Global Environmental Change
Print ISSN 0959-3780
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 23
Issue 5
Pages 914-925
Keywords Climate change, Cities, Planning, Justice.


Accepted Journal Article (244 Kb)

Copyright Statement
NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Global Environmental Change. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Global Environmental Change, 23, 5, 2013, 10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2013.05.010.

You might also like

Downloadable Citations