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Beyond Climate Isolationism: a Necessary Shift for Climate Justice

October 11, 2022

From a US-based perspective, CSSN Scholar Jennie C. Stephens reviews the inadequacies of climate isolationism and explores why climate justice is a more effective framing for addressing the climate crisis.


Purpose of Review
This review explores how more transformative climate policies are emerging arguing that such policies require decision-makers to move beyond the dominant, narrow technocratic lens that I call climate isolationism.

Recent Findings
Climate isolationism refers to the common framing of climate change as an isolated, discrete, scientific problem in need of technological solutions. Stemming from dominant assumptions of patriarchal white-male conceptions of privilege and power, climate isolationism has not only been ineffective in responding to the climate crisis and mobilizing transformative change but it has also resulted in climate and energy programs, policies, and priorities that exacerbate inequities and perpetuate economic and racial injustice.

This paper reviews the inadequacy and dangers of climate isolationism, explores why climate justice provides an alternative more effective framing, and calls for more intentional consideration of power and power dynamics in climate decision-making to shift from climate isolationism to climate justice.

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