Fairness in Climate Adaptation Law

Jan McDonald, University of Tasmania

Jan McDonald explored ideas related to fairness in adaptation law, recognizing the challenge of simultaneously operationalizing adaptation law, while also ensuring fairness in adaptation law. Adaptation actions can play a key role in addressing injustices relating to climate change; yet adaptation actions themselves involve making choices and making trade-offs with justice implications. If an over-arching object of adaptation law is fairness, then laws should tackle the issues of who benefits from adaptation, and who pays. The importance of mitigation was also raised, as if mitigation is not stressed in society, adaptation will not be able to cope with climate stresses, and there will be a larger adaptation gap, leading to greater losses and damage locally, nationally and inter-generationally.

This talk was held at:

Imagining a Different Future

Climate Justice Conference

The University of Tasmania with the support of the University of Utrecht Ethics Institute hosted a multidisciplinary conference examining the barriers to responding to climate change, implementing climate justice, and proposing ways forward. Among the keynote speakers were Law Faculty Professors Jan McDonald and Ben Richardson. The Law Faculty's Dr Peter Lawrence co-convened the conference with Jan Linehan. The conference took place in Hobart from 8-9 Feb 2018.

Despite the Paris Agreement, there are real concerns the prevailing neoliberal economic and political model, particularly with the move to more insular, nationalistic, fragile politics, cannot respond effectively to climate change and excludes key considerations such as ethics and justice. Videos and Podcasts from the conference are available on the Knowledge Hub.