Just Adaptation? How the Diffusion of Norms in the Global Climate Regime Affects International Climate Politics

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Delf Rothe


Politics in the international climate regime is a balancing act between intra- and intergenerational justice, as it has to account for both the needs of developing countries and those of future generations. Following a constructivist approach, this paper argues that international climate politics are heavily dependent upon the way climate change and the appropriate behavior required to prevent it are constructed collectively. The article shows how the diffusion of norms and changing images of climate change have shifted the interests of the actors under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. As a result, adaptation became more and more widely accepted as a necessary step in international climate politics in advancing the strategy of climate change avoidance. This also represents a shift from a focus on intergenerational justice as the main normative goal of the convention, to a broader aim of sustainable development that comprises both inter- and intragenerational justice.

Article Details

Author Biography

Delf Rothe, University of the Bundeswehr, Hamburg

Delf Rothe works at the Institute for International Policy of the Helmut-Schmidt-University in Hamburg. He specializes in the fields of international climate policy, post-modern theory and theories of international relations.


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