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While the logic of debt has typically been used by the wealthy and powerful as a means of enforcing and perpetuating existing relations of power and powerlessness, it has also been wielded by less powerful groups calling for reparations. In this spirit, less developed countries, environmentalists, and indigenous groups have advanced the concept of climate debt - compensation, in the currency of dollars or carbon emissions, owed to current and future victims of anthropogenic climate change by the heaviest emitters. Whereas powerful nations and transnational bodies have mercilessly demanded the repayment of monetary debts, they have been much less willing to even acknowledge the existence of climate debt.
This panel, organized by the American Studies Association’s Environment and Culture Caucus, seeks to explore the theory, application, and potential of climate debt. Possible topics include but are not limited to
· The theory and history of climate debt
· Formulations and applications of the concept
· Climate debt in popular culture
· Analysis of specific calls for considerations of climate debt
· Climate debt in relation to other forms of debt
· Strategy and ethics of using the logic of debt for environmental justice
Panelists are invited to explore these and related topics through the lenses of environmental justice, transnational environmentalism, environmental history, social movement studies, popular culture studies, anthropology, economics, environmental communications, and other perspectives.