A Transnational Law of Just Transitions for Climate Change and Labor

TitleA Transnational Law of Just Transitions for Climate Change and Labor
Publication TypeBook Chapter
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsDoorey, David J.
EditorBlackett, Adelle, and Trebilcock, Anne
Book TitleResearch Handbook on Transnational Labour Law
PublisherEdward Elgar Publishing
CityCamberley Surrey, UK
Keywordsclimate change, labor law

Climate change will dramatically affect labor markets. However, labor law scholars have been mostly absent from discourse over how law and legal policy ought to prepare and respond to these changes. They have treated climate change as an environmental issue best left to environmental law scholars. Environmental law scholars are concerned with climate change, but they lack expertise in the complexities of regulating the labor relationship. Existing legal taxonomies are insufficient to manage the challenge of governing the effects of climate change on labor markets. This chapter proposes a new legal discipline called The Law of Just Transitions. This new field would bring together subject matter and modes of thinking from a variety of legal fields, including labor, environmental, and environmental justice law, mobilized around the subject matter of climate change and labor markets. The field would be guided by a theory of justice that views law through the normative claim that the benefits, harms, and risks associated with climate change and its effects on global labor markets should be distributed in a just manner. The field encompasses all those laws and legal norms that affect this factual and normative matrix. A Law of Just Transitions offers a potentially rich new legal field that would bundle together laws and legal norms in interesting and challenging ways, offering new insights into how law intersects with climate change and labor markets. This brief Chapter considers the potential value of a 'transnational' law of just transitions that emphasizes the role of non-state actors and multiple layers of public and private governance to tackle the challenge of climate change as it affects global labor markets.