Journal Article

Fueling Injustice: Globalization, Ecologically Unequal Exchange, and Climate Change

Date Published

May 24, 2008


Bradley C. Parks, J. Timmons Roberts



Roberts, J. T., & Parks, B. C. (2007). Fueling Injustice: Globalization, Ecologically Unequal Exchange and Climate Change. Globalizations, 4(2), 193-210. doi:10.1080/14747730701345218


The globalization of economic production fundamentally reshapes how a ÔfairÕ solution to the climate change problem must be forged. Emissions are increasing sharply in developing countries as wealthy nations ÔoffshoreÕ the energy- and natural resource-intensive stages of production. We review a new and relatively under-utilized theory of Ôecologically unequal exchangeÕ and apply it to the case of climate change. We describe four distinct principles that have been proposed to assign responsibility for carbon emissions, discuss their inadequacies, and briefly lay out some ÔhybridÕ proposals currently under consideration. We suggest combining hybrid proposals with environmental aid packages that help poorer nations transition from carbon-intensive pathways of development to more climate-friendly development trajectories, using remuneration from the so-called Ôecological debtÕ. In the context of deadlock over a completely inadequate Kyoto Protocol, we argue that fairness principles, climate science, and an understanding of globalization and development must be integrated.

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