Advertisement

Environmental justice and conceptions of the green economy

  • Timothy G. EhresmanEmail author
  • Chukwumerije Okereke
Original Paper

Abstract

Green economy has become one of the most fashionable terms in global environmental public policy discussions and forums. Despite this popularity, and its being selected as one of the organizing themes of the United Nations Rio+20 Conference in Brazil, June 2012, its prospects as an effective mobilization tool for global environmental sustainability scholarship and practice remain unclear. A major reason for this is that much like its precursor concepts such as environmental sustainability and sustainable development, green economy is a woolly concept, which lends itself to many interpretations. Hence, rather than resolve long-standing controversies, green economy merely reinvigorates existing debates over the visions, actors and policies best suited to secure a more sustainable future for all. In this review article, we aim to fill an important gap in scholarship by suggesting various ways in which green economy may be organized and synthesized as a concept, and especially in terms of its relationship with the idea of social and environmental justice. Accordingly, we offer a systemization of possible interpretations of green economy mapped onto a synthesis of existing typologies of environmental justice. This classification provides the context for future analysis of which, and how, various notions of green economy link with various conceptions of justice.

Keywords

International environmental justice Green economy Social justice Sustainable development Rio+20 

Abbreviations

EKC

Environmental Kuznets curve

GDP

Gross domestic product

GE

Green economy

OECD

Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development

UNEP

United Nations Environment Programme

Notes

Acknowledgments

The authors wish to thank Dimitris Stevis and Dale Jamieson, as well as the editorial board of this Journal, for their helpful and insightful comments on an earlier draft of this article. Any errors or omissions remain the sole responsibility of the authors.

References

  1. Abaza, H., Saab, N., & Zeitoon, B. (Eds.). (2011). Arab environment 4 green economy: Sustainable transition in a changing Arab world. Beruit: Arab Forum for Environment and Development.Google Scholar
  2. Ahmed, N. (2013). Linking prawn and shrimp farming towards a green economy in Bangladesh: Confronting climate change. Ocean and Coastal Management, 75, 33–42.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Anex, R. P. (2000). Stimulating innovation in green technology policy alternatives and opportunities. American Behavioral Scientist, 44(2), 188–212.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Arrow, K. J., Dasgupta, P., Goulder, L. H., Mumford, K., & Oleson, K. (2010). China, the US, and sustainability: Perspectives based on comprehensive wealth. In G. Heal (Ed.), Is economic growth sustainable?. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  5. Aşıcı, A. A., & Bünül, Z. (2012). Green New Deal: A green way out of the crisis? Environmental Policy and Governance, 22, 295–306.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bao, Q., Chen, Y., & Song, L. (2008). The environmental consequences of foreign direct investment in China. In L. Song, & W. T. Woo (Eds.), China’s dilemma: Economic growth, the environment and climate change. Washington D.C.: Brookings Institution Press.Google Scholar
  7. Barbier, E. B. (2012). The green economy post Rio+20. Science, 338, 887–888.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Barkin, D., & Fuente, M. (2013). Community forest management: Can the green economy contribute to environmental justice? Natural Resources Forum, 37, 200–210.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Barry, J. (2012). The politics of actually existing unsustainability: Human flourishing in a climate-changed, carbon-constrained world. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Beitz, C. R. (1999). International liberalism and distributive justice: A survey of recent thought. World Politics, 51(2), 269–296.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Benton, T. (1999). Sustainable development and the accumulation of capital: Reconciling the irreconcilable? In A. Dobson (Ed.), Fairness and futurity: Essays on environmental sustainability and social justice. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  12. Bernstein, S. (2013). Rio+20: Sustainable development in a time of multilateral decline. Global Environmental Politics, 13(4), 12–21.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Bhagwati, J. (2004). In defense of globalization. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  14. Biermann, F. (2002). Strengthening green global governance in a disparate world society: Would a World Environment Organisation benefit the South? International Environmental Agreements, 2, 297–315.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Biermann, F., Betsill, M. M., Gupta, J., Kanie, N., Lebel, L., Liverman, D., et al. (2010). Earth system governance: A research framework. International Environmental Agreements: Politics, law and economics, 10, 277–298.Google Scholar
  16. Bigg, T. (2011). Development governance and the green economy: A matter of life and death? Review of Policy Research, 28(5), 459–465.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Borel-Saladin, J. M., & Turok, I. N. (2013). The green economy: Incremental change or transformation? Environmental Policy and Governance, 23, 209–220.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Borg Rasmussen, M. (2012). Greening the economy: Articulation and the problem of governance in the Andes. Mountain Research and Development, 32(2), 149–157.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Bowen, A., & Fankhauser, S. (2011). The green growth narrative: Paradigm shift or just spin? Global Environmental Change, 21, 1157–1159.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Boyce, J. K. (2008). Globalization and the environment: Convergence or divergence? In K. P. Gallagher (Ed.), Handbook on trade and the environment. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar Publishing Limited.Google Scholar
  21. Brockington, D. (2012). A radically conservative vision? The challenge of UNEP’s Towards a Green Economy. Development and Change, 43(1), 409–422.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Bumpus, A., Tansey, J., Henríquez, B. L. P., & Okereke, C. (Eds.). (2015). Carbon governance, Climate change and business transformation. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  23. Cafaro, P. (2005). Gluttony, arrogance, greed, and apathy: An exploration of environmenal vice. In R. Sandler & P. Cafaro (Eds.), Environmental virtue ethics. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers Inc.Google Scholar
  24. Caia, W., Wanga, C., Chen, J., & Wanga, S. (2011). Green economy and green jobs: Myth or reality? The case of China’s power generation sector. Energy, 36, 5994–6003.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Carraro, C., Favero, A., & Massetti, E. (2012). Investments and public finance in a green, low carbon, economy. Energy Economics, 34, S15–S28.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Chao, C.-W., Ma, H.-W., & Heijungs, R. (2014). The green economy mirage? Examining the environmental implications of low carbon growth plans in Taiwan. Journal of Industrial Ecology, 17(6), 835–845.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Charnovitz, S. (2012). Organizing for the green economy: What an international green economy organization could add. The Journal of Environment Development, 21(1), 44–47.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Chen, Y. S. (2008). The driver of green innovation and green image: Green core competence. Journal of Business Ethics, 81(3), 531–543.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Chowdhury, R. R., & Moran, E. F. (2012). Turning the curve: A critical review of Kuznets approaches. Applied Geography, 32, 3–11.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Christoff, P. (1996). Ecological modernisation, ecological modernities. Environmental Politics, 5(3), 476–500.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Clapp, J., & Dauvergne, P. (2011). Paths to a green world: The political economy of the global environment (Vol. 2nd ed). Cambridge MA: The MIT Press.Google Scholar
  32. Davies, A. R. (2013). Cleantech clusters: Transformational assemblages for a just, green economy or just business as usual? Global Environmental Change, 23, 1285–1295.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Davies, A. R., & Mullin, S. J. (2011). Greening the economy: Interrogating sustainability innovations beyond the mainstream. Journal of Economic Geography, 11, 793–816.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Dobson, A. (1998). Justice and the environment. Oxford: Oxford University Press Inc.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Dower, N. (1998). World ethics: The new agenda. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.Google Scholar
  36. Easterbrook, G. (1995). A moment on the earth: The coming age of environmental optimism. New York: Penguin.Google Scholar
  37. Easterbrook, G. (2003). The progress paradox. New York: Random House.Google Scholar
  38. Ehresman, T. (2010). Liberal international environmental justice and foreign direct investment at the International Finance Corporation. Paper presented at the International Studies Association conference, Montreal.Google Scholar
  39. Ehresman, T., & Stevis, D. (2011). International environmental justice. In G. Kutting (Ed.), Global environmental politics: Concepts, theories and case studies (pp. 87–104). New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  40. Elzen, B., Geels, F. W., & Green, K. (Eds.). (2004). System innovation and the transition to sustainability: Theory, evidence and policy. Northampton: Edward Elgar Publishing.Google Scholar
  41. Evanoff, R. (2011). Bioregionalism and global ethics: A transactional approach to achieving ecological sustainability, social justice, and human well-being. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  42. Garcia, F. J. (2003). Trade, inequality, and justice: Toward a liberal theory of just trade. Ardsley: Transnational Publishers.Google Scholar
  43. Garcia, F. J. (2013). Global justice and international economic law: Three takes. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Grasso, M. (2011). The role of justice in the North–South conflict in climate change: The case of negotiations on the adaptation fund. International Environmental Agreements: Politics, law and economics, 11(4), 361–377.Google Scholar
  45. Haas, P. M. (2012). The political economy of ecology: Prospects for transforming the world economy at Rio plus 20. Global Policy, 3(1), 94–101.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Halle, M. (2011). Accountability in the green economy. Review of Policy Research, 28(5), 473–477.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Harper-Anderson, E. (2012). Exploring what greening the economy means for African American workers, entrepreneurs, and communities. Economic Development Quarterly, 26(2), 162–177.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Harris, P. G. (2010). World ethics and climate change: From international to global justice. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.Google Scholar
  49. Hollander, J. M. (2003). The real environmental crisis: Why poverty, not affluence, is the environment’s number one enemy. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  50. Iles, A. (2004). Mapping environmental justice in technology flows: Computer waste impacts in Asia. Global Environmental Politics, 4(4), 76–107.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Jackson, T. (2009). Prosperity without growth: Economics for a finite planet. London: Earthscan.Google Scholar
  52. Jacobs, M. (1991). The green economy: Environment, sustainable development and the politics of the future. London: Pluto Press.Google Scholar
  53. Jones, V. (2008). The green collar economy: How one solution can fix our two biggest problems. New York: Harper Collins Publishers.Google Scholar
  54. Kallis, G. (2011). In defence of degrowth. Ecological Economics, 70(5), 873–880.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Kapstein, E. B. (2004). Models of international economic justice. Ethics and International Affairs, 18(2), 79–92.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Kemfert, C., & Tol, R. S. J. (2002). Equity, international trade and climate policy. International environmental agreements: Politics, law and economics, 2(1), 23–48.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Khor, M. (1996). Global economy and the Third World. In J. Mander & E. Goldsmith (Eds.), The case against the global economy: And for a turn toward the local. San Francisco: Sierra Club Books.Google Scholar
  58. Kosoy, N., Brown, P. G., Bosselmann, K., Duraiappah, A., Mackey, B., Martinez-Alier, J., et al. (2012). Pillars for a flourishing earth: Planetary boundaries, economic growth delusion and green economy. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, 4, 74–79.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Lomborg, B. (2001). The skeptical environmentalist. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Lorek, S., & Spangenberg, J. H. (2014). Sustainable consumption within a sustainable economy—beyond green growth and green economies. Journal of Cleaner Production, 63, 33–44.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Matsui, Y. (2002). Some aspects of the principle of “Common But Differentiated Responsibilities”. International Environmental Agreements: Politics, Law and Economics, 2(2), 151–170.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Meléndez-Ortiz, R. (2011). Governance of international trade for the green economy. Review of Policy Research, 28(5), 479–486.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Mendona, M. (2009). Powering the green economy: The feed-in tariff handbook. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  64. Milani, B. (2000). Designing the green economy: The post-industrial alternative to corporate globalization. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers Inc.Google Scholar
  65. Mol, A. (1996). Ecological modernisation and institutional reflexivity; environmental reform in the late modern age. Environmental Politics, 5(2), 302–323.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Nagel, T. (2005). The problem of global justice. Philosophy & Public Affairs, 33(2), 113–147.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Newell, P., & Mulvaney, D. (2013). The political economy of the ‘just transition’. The Geographical Journal, 179(2), 132–140.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Newell, P., & Paterson, M. (2010). Climate capitalism: Global warming and the transformation of the global economy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Nozick, R. (1974). Anarchy, state, and utopia. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  70. Nussbaum, M. (2000). Women and human development: The capabilities approach. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Nussbaum, M. (2006). Frontiers of justice: Disability, nationality, species membership. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  72. OECD. (2011). Towards green growth. Paris: OECD.Google Scholar
  73. Okereke, C. (2008). Global justice and neoliberal environmental governance: Sustainable development, ethics and international co-operation. London/New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  74. Okereke, C., & Dooley, K. (2010). Principles of justice in proposals and policy approaches to avoided deforestation: Towards a post-Kyoto climate agreement. Global Environmental Change, 20(1), 82–95.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. Pearce, D., Markandya, A., & Barbier, E. B. (1989). Blueprint for a green economy. London: Earthscan Publications Ltd.Google Scholar
  76. Piketty, T. (2013). The return of capital and the dynamics of inequality. ESPRIT, 11, 85–95.Google Scholar
  77. Piketty, T. (2014). Capital in the twenty-first century. Cambridge, MA: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  78. Pogge, T. W. (1989). Realizing Rawls. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.Google Scholar
  79. Pop, O., Dina, G. C., & Martinc, C. (2011). Promoting the corporate social responsibility for a green economy and innovative jobs. Procedia Social and Behavioral Sciences, 15, 1020–1023.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  80. Princen, T., Maniates, M., & Conca, K. (2002). Confronting consumption. In T. Princen, M. Maniates, & K. Conca (Eds.), Confronting consumption. Cambridge MA: The MIT Press.Google Scholar
  81. Puppim de Oliveira, J. A., Doll, C. N. H., Balaban, O., Jiang, P., Dreyfus, M., Suwa, A., et al. (2013). Green economy and governance in cities: Assessing good governance in key urban economic processes. Journal of Cleaner Production, 58, 138–152.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  82. Rawls, J. (1971). A theory of justice. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  83. Reiff, M. R. (2013). Exploitation and economic justice in the liberal capitalist state. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  84. Resnick, D., Tarp, F., & Thurlow, J. (2012). The political economy of green growth: Cases from Southern Africa. Public Administration and Development, 32, 215–228.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  85. Ringius, L., Torvanga, A., & Underdal, A. (2002). Burden sharing & fairness principles in international climate policy. International Environmental Agreements: Politics, Law and Economics, 2(1), 1–22.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  86. Rule, T. A. (2011). Airspace in a green economy. UCLA Law Review, 59, 270–320.Google Scholar
  87. Runnalls, D. (2011). Environment and economy: Joined at the hip or just strange bedfellows? Surveys and Perspectives Integrating Environment and Society, 4(2), 1–10.Google Scholar
  88. Sachs, W., & Santarius, T. (Eds.). (2007). Fair future: Resource conflicts, security and global justice. London: Zed Books.Google Scholar
  89. Schneider, F., Martinez-Alier, J., & Kallis, G. (2011). Sustainable degrowth. Journal of Industrial Ecology, 15(5), 654–656.Google Scholar
  90. Sen, A. (1999). Development as freedom. New York: Anchor Books.Google Scholar
  91. Simon, J. L. (1992). Population and development in poor countries. Princeton: Princeton University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  92. Simon, J. L. (1996). The ultimate resource 2. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  93. Stevis, D., & Felli, R. (2014). Global labor unions and just transition to a green economy. International environmental agreements: Politics, law and economics [online]. Google Scholar
  94. Tienhaara, K. (2013). Varieties of green capitalism: Economy and environment in the wake of the global financial crisis. Environmental Politics, 23(2), 187–204.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  95. Torgerson, D. (2001). Rethinking politics for a green economy: A political approach to radical reform. Social Policy and Administration, 35(5), 472–489.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  96. UN. (September 11, 2012 (reissued January 17, 2013)). The future we want (A/RES/66/288). New York: United Nations.Google Scholar
  97. UNEP. (2011). Towards a green economy: Pathways to sustainable development and poverty eradication: A synthesis for policy makers. Nairobi: UNEP.Google Scholar
  98. Van Alstine, J., & Neumayer, E. (2008). The environmental Kuznets curve. In K. P. Gallagher (Ed.), Handbook on trade and the environment. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar Publishing Limited.Google Scholar
  99. van der Ploega, R., & Withagen, C. (2013). Green growth, green paradox and the global economic crisis. Environmental Innovation and Societal Transitions, 6, 116–119.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  100. Victor, P. A., & Jackson, T. (2012). A commentary on UNEP’s green economy scenarios. Ecological Economics, 77, 11–15.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  101. Wapner, P. (2011). Civil society and the emergent green economy. Review of Policy Research, 28(5), 525–530.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  102. Woods, K. (2006). What does the language of human rights bring to campaigns for environmental justice? Environmental Politics, 15(4), 572–591.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  103. World Bank. (2012). Inclusive green growth: The pathway to sustainable development. World Bank: Washington D.C.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PoliticsUniversity of the South--SewaneeSewaneeUSA
  2. 2.Department of Geography and Environmental ScienceUniversity of ReadingReadingUK

Personalised recommendations