Climate-Ready Seeds and Patent Rights: A Question of Climate (in) Justice?

Saab, Anne
July 2015
Global Jurist;Jul2015, Vol. 15 Issue 2, p219
Academic Journal
This paper seeks to examine the concept of climate justice and how it is employed by different actors and for different ends. This will be done through an exploration of invocations of climate justice in discussions about a proposed adaptation strategy, namely 'climate-ready seeds'. The impacts of climate change are often perceived as a form of injustice, because the most vulnerable regions and people suffer disproportionately while having contributed least to causing climate change. Adaptation strategies intended to alleviate this suffering can be viewed as a pursuit of climate justice. At the same time, some argue that certain adaptation strategies cause more injustice than they alleviate. Climate justice movements thus also aim to correct the injustices caused by adaptation strategies. Critics of climate-ready seeds contend that this proposed adaptation strategy is a profitable business for seed corporations, but does not benefit poor farmers. Even though different actors use the concept of climate justice for different purposes, they often invoke similar notions of 'rights'. I argue in this paper that reliance on rights in all accounts of climate justice in discourses about climate-ready seeds plays a hand in obscuring the distinct aims and ends contained in the idea of climate justice.


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