Climate change is an injustice because its impacts are experienced most acutely by those who contributed least to the problem and have the fewest resources to protect themselves from harm. These include Indigenous peoples, the small island states, racial and ethnic minorities, poor people, and those who reside in climate-vulnerable geographic regions, including tropical, coastal, and agriculture-dependent low-income countries.
While most analyses of climate justice focus on the impacts of climate change, this lecture will examine the fossil fuel-based global economy through the framework of racial capitalism and the harms that it inflicts on colonized and racialized populations from cradle to grave. It will discuss international law’s complicity in the climate crisis and the importance of understanding racial capitalism’s race-making and profit-making logics in order to distinguish between reforms that entrench the system and those that promise to subvert and transform it.
Carmen G. Gonzalez is a Morris I. Leibman Professor of Law at Loyola University Chicago School of Law.
Professor Gonzalez has taught at numerous prestigious academic institutions around the globe and has participated in environmental law capacity projects in Asia, Latin America, and the former Soviet Union. She was a Fulbright Scholar in Argentina, a Visiting Scholar at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom, a Visiting Professor at the Hopkins-Nanjing Center in China, and a U.S. Supreme Court Fellow. In 2019, she was recognized by Vermont Law School as its Distinguished International Environmental Law Scholar.
Professor Gonzalez is past chair of the Environmental Law Section of the Association of American Law Schools, and served as member and vice-chair of the IUCN Academy of Environmental Law. She also served on the Board of Trustees of Earthjustice, the largest public interest environmental law firm in the United States.