Sennan D. Mattar, Michael Mikulewicz & Darren McCauley
Apart from rapidly affecting the Arctic environment, climate change poses significant societal challenges in the region, as well. However, compared to the impacts of rising temperatures on local ecosystems, our understanding of the social dimensions of climate change in the Arctic appears limited. In this article, we respond to this knowledge gap and to the recent calls for reorienting climate research in the region towards people and ethics. We do so by charting a climate research agenda for the Arctic guided by climate justice – a framework we use to examine the unevenness of climate impacts and the responses to them in the region.
We begin by providing an overview of current climate-related social science research in the Arctic with a focus on adaptation, mitigation, health, Indigenous studies, security, and governance. We note the scarcity of works focused explicitly on equity or justice in this context. After briefly outlining key relevant climate justice approaches, we propose a critical and interdisciplinary manifesto for climate scholarship in the Arctic centred on research focus and scale, knowledge decolonisation and co-production, new methodologies and solutions. We also discuss its practical implications for researchers and policymakers centred around non-Western frameworks of climate justice, communities’ own stories of climate injustice, and using climate justice as a bridge to interdisciplinarity. We conclude by arguing that climate justice offers to align research in humanities, social sciences and natural sciences to successfully inform policymakers on the true costs of and the ‘real’ solutions for climate change issues in the Arctic.