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Climate Justice

Rwanda Field Trip by David Taylor

The global community is increasingly concerned about the damage which climate change will do to our economies and societies. The scientific consensus, as expressed by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, is that this threat is real and increasing. However the burden of climate change will not be evenly distributed geographically and socially. Cruelly it is the poorest countries with agriculturally dependent economies in the tropics which will be most affected, despite them having done the least to cause the problem. Within developing countries women may be most affected as they may have to walk further to harvest fuelwood or collect potable water as it becomes increasingly scarce.

While China is now the world’s largest greenhouse gas emmissions, the rich or industrial countries are largely responsible for the majority of the stock of anthropogenic greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Climate change then presents itself as something which is fundamentally unjust in its impacts as the poor who have done least to create the problem and have the least resources to cope with its impacts pay for the historical over-consumption of fossil fuels by the rich world.

Climate justice is the idea that there is a need to redress the imbalances of power which have created the current conjuncture. There are a number of principles which underly the concept.

That those who have the greatest responsiblty for the problem of climate change have the greatest responsibility to help resolve it.

  • That those who can most afford it should contribute most to the solution of the problem.
  • That economic, social and political rights should be enhanced by policy and legal frameworks to redress climate change and that they should not compromise the right to development.
  • Climate justice will require a global transition to a low-carbon economy, in addition to innovations in adaptation and mitigation. In order to address these issues TCD has established a Climate Justice Initiative which aims to stimulate research and teaching in the college, establish international research networks and collaborations and to engage in public education and outreach.  The delivery of this programme will also build on existing collaborations, such as the joint Masters in Development Practice with UCD and cooperation with the UCD Earth Systems Institute.


Climate Justice Publications & Working Papers

Sam Barrett -PhD project on Climate Justice
Download paper here



Mary RobinsonFor a brief introduction to the concept of climate justice read
Title: Expanding Global Cooperation on Climate Justice
By: Mary Robinson and Alice M. Miller
download paper (PDF, 59KB)



Climate Justice Working Paper

Rescaling climate justice: sub-national issues and innovations for low carbon futures
Climate Justice Series
Anna Davies, Geography, School of Natural Sciences, TCD and Niamh Kirwan, Geography, School of Natural Sciences, TCD
IIIS Discussion Paper No. 340

A note on optimal carbon pricing and approaches to climate change
By: Stefano F. Verde, PhD Student, Department of Economics, Trinity College Dublin and Electricity Research Centre (ERC)












Climate Justice Events


Speaker: Dr. Mary Robinson, President, Mary Robinson Foundation – Climate Justice
Title: Climate Justice and Food Security
Date: Friday 25th November (TCD)
Time: 1-2pm
Venue: Long Room Hub, Trinity College Dublin

Women Leaders on Climate Justice: A Grassroots Perspective

12th April 2011
18.30 - 20.00
Edmund Burke Theatre, Trinity College, Dublin

Oxfam Ireland and the Mary Robinson Foundation - Climate Justice (MRFCJ) invite you to hear the voices of women leaders on climate justice

Climate Wise Women is a global initiative to promote women's leadership on climate change and to give a human face and voice to this complex issue.

Climate Wise Women events present the stories of women leaders from women affected by climate change in their own voices.

The speakers for the night are: Ursula Rakova, Constance Okollet, Jim Clarken and Mary Robinson.

This event is by registration only. Please RSVP to



TCD University Philosophical Society hosting debate

This House Would Put Economic Growth Before Combating Climate Change

Lord Christopher Monckton, British politician, journalist and man-made climate change skeptic
John Gibbons, head of, weekly columnist for the Irish Times and frequent contributor on media discussions relating to climate change.
Neil Walker, Doctorate in environmental economics, Head of Energy and Environment Policy for IBEC
Thomas Ryan, IFA’s Head of Environment & Natural Resources with special responsibility for Climate Change

Where: GMB
When: Thursday 7:30pm
Free entry and a reception following

More Info:!/event.php?eid=194839960538871


Transforming Ireland Seminar Series
mobilising innovations to meet energy and climate change obligations and sustainable economic development
Download Autumn 2010 Programme

Thursday 28th October: The Chinese Communist Party, Daoism and the Environmental Future of China
Guest speaker Martin Palmer will deliver the 2010 Godfrey Day Memorial Lecture.  Martin Palmer is Special Advisor to the UN on Climate Change, the Environment and the Faiths and Director of the Alliance of Religions and Conservation. 
Time: 7pm
Venue: Swift Lecture Theatre, Arts Building, Trinity College Dublin
Contact: Website:

Friday 29th October: Deadline for Call for Papers for Conference on Partnerships to Address Health and Diseases of Poverty Challenges. 
This biennial conference, organised by the Irish Forum for Global Health in association with Irish Aid to mark World AIDS Day 2010 (1 December), will take place in NUI Maynooth from 29-30 November.  In recognition of the wide range of players contributing to improving Global Health and the requirement for improved interactions between them the forum welcomes papers ranging from upstream fundamental scientific research to downstream work of NGO’s implementing health interventions. Accepted abstracts will be selected as oral or poster presentations. Only abstracts conforming to the guidelines (available at will be considered. 
Venue: NUI Maynooth
Contact: Email:, Website:

Greenhouse Gas Emissions Workshop
Date: 27th - 29th October 2010
Venue: Mont Clare Hotel, Dublin

The use of bioenergy crops is often cited as a way of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, although quantification of their true impact at the ecosystem scale is still unclear and likely dependent on the type of crop, soil conditions and climate. As part of the GHG Europe, FP7 project a workshop is being held in Dublin that will address these issues and provide the basis of a review of the impacts of land use conversion for bioenergy production on greenhouse gas emissions.
Contact: Bruce Osborne, Email:, Website:

The Anthropecene: A New Geological Epoch Dominated By Human Activities
By: Paul J. Crutzen
Date: 21st October 2010
Time: 6.30pm
Venue: Burke Lecture Theatre, Trinity College Dublin
Adminssion is free but booking is essential


Date: Friday 1st October 2010 1-2pm
Speaker: Prof. Patrick Bond, Director, Centre for Civil Society, University of KwaZulu Natal, South Africa
Title: The Politics of Climate Justice, Debt and Development
Venue: TCD/UCD Innovation Academy, 3 Foster Place, Trinity College Dublin
Organised by: Trinity International Development Initiative (TIDI) at TCD
and the Human Development Initiative (HDI) at UCD

Date: Tuesday 14th September 2010
Mary Robinson Foundation Climate Justice
Press Release

Event: Public Lecture
Title: “Water, Food Security and Climate Change: The Global Challenge”
By: Professor Cees Veerman
Date: Tuesday 27th April 2010
Time: 6pm
Venue: Ui Chadhain Lecture Theatre, Arts Building, Trinity College Dublin
Download Podcast

Event: Seminar
Title:Low Cost Distributed Micro Generation of Electricity in the Developing World
By Wayne O’Connell
Date:Friday, 14th May 2010
Time: 1-2pm
Venue: IIIS Seminar Room

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Last updated 6 November 2012 by IIIS (Email).