We owe it to our fellow humans – and other species – to save them from the catastrophic harm caused by climate change.
Philosopher Elizabeth Cripps approaches climate justice not just as an abstract idea but as something that should motivate us all. Using clear reasoning and poignant examples, starting from irrefutable science and uncontroversial moral rules, she explores our obligations to each other and to the non-human world, unravels the legacy of colonialism and entrenched racism, and makes the case for immediate action.
The second half of What Climate Justice Means And Why We Should Care looks at solutions. Who should pay the bill for climate action? Who must have a say? How can we hold multinational companies, organisations – even nations – to account? Cripps argues powerfully that climate justice goes beyond political polarization. Climate activism is a moral duty, not a political choice.
Chapter One: Basic Justice, Incontrovertible Science
Chapter Two: The Same Storm, But Not The Same Boat
Chapter Three: Beyond Humans
Chapter Four: What Climate Justice Looks Like
Chapter Five: The Least Unjust Option
Chapter Six: But What Can I Do?
Conclusion: Key Points
Elizabeth Cripps is a senior lecturer at the University of Edinburgh and the author of Climate Change and the Moral Agent. A moral philosopher with a focus on climate ethics and justice, she has written for Scotland's The Herald and been interviewed on Radio 4. As a former journalist, she worked for the Financial Times group and freelanced for the Guardian.
"Insightful and timely [...] 'climate justice' is essential if we are to deal with climate change. Compelling."
– Professor Mark Maslin, author of How to Save Our Planet
"The iron law of global warming is: the less you did to cause it, the sooner and harder you suffer its effects. As this book makes clear, that raises very deep questions about justice, which we will be grappling with for the forseeable future. If you read this, you'll have a good headstart on a crucial debate."
– Bill McKibben, author of Falter: Has the Human Game Begun to Play Itself Out?
"An essential primer. Elizabeth Cripps deftly explains the complexity of wicked problems without ever losing sight of the fundamental truth that, before it is a technical or political issue, climate injustice is a moral one."
– Professor David Farrier, Chair in Literature and the Environment, University of Edinburgh
"This book is a short and direct conversation with a philosopher carefully thinking through our duties now toward other people given the scary changes we all may face. While it may be painful reading at times, you will gain insights not available in any other book about climate change. The subtle analysis does not stifle the passion, and the deep feeling does not cloud the arguments. A moving philosophical plea for immediate radical action with the reasons distilled to their essence. If you wonder where to begin to tackle the worsening climate, start here."
– Professor Henry Shue, Merton College, Oxford. Senior Research Fellow, Centre for International Studies, DPIR
"We live in a world increasingly impacted not only by climate change, but also its unjust impacts on both human and nonhuman communities. Elizabeth Cripps offers a lucid, comprehensive, and pertinent overview of a range of ideas and realities of climate justice in all its complexity. She offers the crucial argument that, in everyday political and personal practice, climate change is a choice to violate the rights of the most vulnerable. As inequitable as climate change can be, Cripps insists that it is possible, and straightforward, to choose climate justice instead."
– David Schlosberg, Professor of Environmental Politics and Director, Sydney Environment Institute, University of Sydney
"The concept of climate justice is increasingly being invoked. But what is climate justice? In her brilliant book, Elizabeth Cripps gives us a definitive answer. What Climate Justice Means shows why climate change is a matter of justice, who bears responsibility for this and what citizens and governments ought to do. It vividly conveys the realities of climate injustices and makes a compelling moral case for action."
– Simon Caney, Professor of Political Theory, University of Warwick
"[...] impassioned treatise from philosopher Cripps [...] Sincere and substantial, this offers bountiful insight into the movement for climate justice."
– Publishers Weekly
"There are complex moral quandaries in What Climate Justice Means, but it's written for everybody. And this is not philosophy as some kind of intellectual luxury. It's a matter of life and death, of how we live with integrity in the face of a global catastrophe which we did not create, but in which we are complicit."
– Jeremy Williams, The Earthbound Report
"Sincere and substantial, this offers bountiful insight into the movement for climate justice."
– Publishers Weekly
"[...] serves to stiffen the moral sinew."
– Big Issue in the North