School of Social and Political Science

Author-Meets-Critics: What Climate Justice Means (and Why We Should Care), Elizabeth Cripps

Online event
14 June 2021
09:30 - 10:30


CRITIQUE is hosting this virtual Author-Meets-Critics with Elizabeth Cripps on her forthcoming trade book, What Climate Justice Means (and Why We Should Care), with commentaries from academics, students and activists.

About the event

September 2020. As societies reeled from a global pandemic, young people protested in 3500 towns and cities, refusing to forget a still greater emergency. Their hashtag? #FightClimateInjustice. But what is ‘climate injustice’? And why should we care? This book has a clear answer. Climate injustice is an uncontroversial moral wrong. No matter how polarised the debate has become, climate justice should be beyond political orientation.

The book unpicks objections: ‘It’s not that simple!’ ‘We don’t owe justice to distant strangers, let along people who aren’t born yet!’ It acknowledges the legacy of colonialism and entrenched racism, the intersectional cost paid by women of colour. It highlights failure of recognition, denial of political voice. It asks what is owed to non-humans: the starving polar bear, the devastated Amazon. It holds up a mirror to global society – and presents a grim reflection.

Then it looks forward, to what it takes to achieve climate justice. Who should pay, in a world where no-one wants to? Where do we go if not towards full justice? Because, in practice, international negotiations come nowhere near. How much should individuals do? We have a voice as citizens, as consumers, as voters. If this book is right, it’s a moral duty – not just a political choice – to use it.

Elizabeth Cripps is a senior lecturer in political theory at the University of Edinburgh and associate director of CRITIQUE. She has published widely on climate ethics and justice, including an OUP monograph. She is also a former journalist.

More about our commentators:

  • Grace Garland, PhD candidate in Environmental Political Theory, University of Edinburgh, and part-time editor
  • Pooja Kishinani, final year Politics, Philosophy and Economics student at the University of Manchester, member of Climate Emergency Manchester, and co-author of the Student Guide to the Climate Crisis
  • Sherilyn MacGregor, Reader in Environmental Politics at the University of Manchester
  • David Schlosberg, Professor of Environmental Politics in the Department of Government and International Relations at the University of Sydney, and Director of the Sydney Environment Institute
  • Heather Urquhart, climate activist with experience at Friends of the Earth Scotland (including as a former board member), Climate Action Scotland, and the Scottish Green Party

Key speakers

  • Grace Garland, University of Edinburgh
  • Pooja Kishinani, University of Manchester
  • Sherilyn MacGregor, University of Manchester
  • David Schlosberg, University of Sydney
  • Heather Urquhart, climate activist