Abstract

Finance for developing countries to adapt to the adverse impacts of climate change now tops the international climate negotiation agenda. In this article, we first assess how adaptation finance came to the top of the agenda. Second, drawing upon Amartya Sen's (2010) “realization-focused comparison” theory of justice, we develop a definition of adaptation finance justice based upon the texts of the 1992 UNFCCC and its subsidiary bodies. From this perspective, we assess three main points of contention between countries on both sides of the North-South divide: The Gap in raising the funds, The Wedge in their distribution, and The Dodge in how they are governed. Overall, we argue that while some ambiguity exists, the decisions of the UNFCCC provide a strong basis for a justice-oriented approach to adaptation finance. However, in practice, adaptation finance has reflected developed country interests far more than the principles of justice adopted by Parties.

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