Just Transitions

VENI-Project: Lost in Transition (2024-2028)

The climate transition calls for rigorous societal changes. These changes will not be to everyone’s benefit. For some individuals, communities, or corporations, their land, labour or industry may be jeopardized. Others will have to give up highly emitting practices in which they have long been invested, or may have to forego a quick route to economic development. Under what conditions, if any, are ‘losers’ of the climate transition entitled to some form of compensation? And what do ‘winners’ of the transition owe to others?

The Dutch Research Council (NWO) has awarded a VENI-grant to this research project, which offers an ethical analysis of ‘legitimate expectations’ that are frustrated in the climate transition, and investigates when such frustration is unjust.

The project departs from the hypothesis that the moral weight of a frustrated expectation can justify transitional relief. But legitimate expectations may also be superseded, for instance when their epistemic validity is undermined, or when they are grounded in moral norms which are subsequently disrupted. Developing these ideas will contribute to a forward-looking theory of transitional justice.