About the Climate Change Working Group
Welcome to BCCE’s newest working group, Climate Change and Inequality. This working group will focus on the many complex inequality issues that arise from climate change and the potential role of discrimination law and broader legal work in this area. It is led by Beth Goldblatt from the University of Technology Sydney (UTS), Christy Clark from the University of Canberra Law School in Australia, and Dan Shapiro.
Workshop on Climate Change, Equality, and Discrimination Law
This was the inaugural event of the Climate Change Working Group, aimed at introducing the issues and the future areas of work of the group and encouraging people to join the group. The workshop included work-in-progress papers from existing BCCE members and new members working on the topic anywhere in the world. Researchers at all stages of their careers proposed their papers.
Climate change is reinforcing existing inequalities and generating new divides. For example, loss of land and livelihoods are affecting Indigenous Peoples and economically disadvantaged groups; rising temperatures are disproportionately affecting the elderly, people with disabilities, people in neighbourhoods without tree cover, and children; women are being burdened with greater caring responsibilities and reduced resources following climate disasters. The Climate Justice movement is strongly directed at systemic change that integrates climate and environmental responses with efforts to address social injustice. These justice struggles are drawing on law and litigation, with all their limitations, as part of the strategic toolbox. While many areas of law have been mobilised, little attention has been given to the potential role of equality guarantees and discrimination law in challenging inequalities related to climate change. We are calling for papers that consider actual or hypothetical examples of the use of equality and discrimination law on climate change issues, and/or conceptual papers that engage with the potential and limitations of equality and discrimination law in advancing climate justice. The following questions are meant only to serve as a stimulus for possible papers and do not have to be directly addressed in proposals:
- Can equality and discrimination laws support efforts to mitigate climate change?
- How can the law ensure that climate change adaptations avoid and overcome inequality and discrimination?
- Are there examples of climate change litigation that include equality and non-discrimination arguments?
- Are there strategic dangers in using equality and discrimination law in climate justice cases?
- Can equality and discrimination law respond effectively to intersectional inequalities
emerging from climate change?
- Can the individual nature of discrimination law claims address the group-based harms
involved in climate change and might this push the law in new directions?
- Can equality-related laws be used to ensure that adaptation and mitigation measures are
more cognisant of inequality?
Page under construction.
Beth Goldblatt is a Professor in the Faculty of Law at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS), Australia and a Visiting Professor in the School of Law at the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa. She is an international expert on social and economic rights and equality and non-discrimination law. With colleagues, Beth established the UTS Faculty of Law’s large and active Feminist Legal Research Group and she teaches ‘Gender and the Law’. She is the inaugural co-chair of the Faculty’s Equity and Diversity Group and sits on the UTS Diversity and Inclusion Implementation Committee. Beth is a member of the Australian Discrimination Law Experts Group. Her work covers many aspects of equality with a recent focus on climate change, its impact on inequality, and the role of law in contributing to climate justice.
Dr Cristy Clark is an academic at the University of Canberra Law School, Australia. She is an expert on the human right to water. Her research focuses on the intersection of human rights, neoliberalism, and the environment, and she is the co-author of The Lawful Forest: A Critical History of Property, Protest and Spatial Justice (2022).
Dan Shapiro has been a practicing trial lawyer and business litigator since 1982. Much of his career has been spent litigating class actions, where he helped to develop and refine the applicable law in the trial and appellate courts. He has been a frequent speaker and author on class actions and class action reform. Dan is a graduate of The University of Chicago Law School and of the University of Illinois where he earned All University Honors and was a member of Phi Beta Kappa.