Environmental Injustices in European Climate Hotspots


Filip Alexandrescu
Ionuț-Marian Anghel
Simona Stănescu
Lucrina Ștefănescu
Alina Pop


This paper starts from the observation that development projects that create various forms of environmental injustice in Europe are an integral part of the process of biospheric expulsions, that is of pushing out groups from adequate land, water or air, as described by Saskia Sassen (2014). Apart from the environmental, socio-economic and health-impacts of ecologically destructive projects, there is an added dimension of concern that has been less obvious in the past, but tends to become increasingly pronounced in a warming world. Is it possible that accumulating environmental inequalities and forms of injustice can create new and “unnatural” vulnerabilities to the projected climate change impacts? The first question that we tackle is whether environmental justice conflicts in Europe tend to take place disproportionately in climate hotspot areas, which are geographic spaces with above-average social sensitivity, potential vulnerability, potential social impact, potential environmental impacts or response capacity (ESPON, 2011). The second question concerns the distribution of different characteristics of projects and of their associated conflicts in climate hotspot vs. non-hotspot areas. The final goal is to establish, at a preliminary level, the emergence of a climate edge in Europe, a spatial configuration in which vulnerability to climate change impacts is shaped by processes of biospheric expulsion, as postulated at a general level by Sassen. For the analysis, the most current data on environmental justice conflicts (444) from the Environmental Justice Atlas and ESPON climate impact projections, mapped on the Climate Adapt platform, are used. The expected result is to provide a preliminary description of the postulated climate edge.


Author Biographies

Filip Alexandrescu, Research Institute for the Quality of Life, Romanian Academy

Address: 13 September Road no. 13, District 5, 050711, Bucharest, Romania.

Email: filip.alexand@gmail.com

Ionuț-Marian Anghel, Research Institute for the Quality of Life, Romanian Academy

Address: 13 September Road no. 13, District 5, 050711, Bucharest, Romania.

Email: ionut_anghel_2007@yahoo.com

Simona Stănescu, Research Institute for the Quality of Life, Romanian Academy

Address: 13 September Road no. 13, District 5, 050711, Bucharest, Romania.

Email: simona_vonica@yahoo.com

Lucrina Ștefănescu, Babeș-Bolyai University

Address: 7-9 Universității Street, 400084, Cluj-Napoca, Cluj County, Romania.

Email: lucrina_stefanescu@yahoo.com

Alina Pop, Dimitrie Cantemir Christian University

Address: 176 Splaiul Unirii, 040042, District 4, Bucharest, Romania.

Email: alina.pop@ucdc.ro

How to Cite
Alexandrescu, F., Anghel, I.-M., Stănescu, S., Ștefănescu, L., & Pop, A. (2019). Environmental Injustices in European Climate Hotspots. Sociologie Românească, 17(1), 11-34. https://doi.org/10.33788/sr.17.1


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