The climate change – inequality nexus: towards environmental and socio-ecological inequalities with a focus on human capabilities

Faus Onbargi, Alexia
External Publications (2022)

in: Journal of Integrative Environmental Sciences 19 (1), 163-170

Open access

The climate change – inequality nexus has become an increasingly important concept advanced by inequality and sustainability experts as well as international organisations like the United Nations. In this perspective paper, two arguments are made to further our understanding of the nexus and to promote action on SDG 10 (”Reducing inequalities within and among countries”) and SDG 13 (”Climate action”). First, climate change’s status as a “core” planetary boundary as well as its embeddedness in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, calls for a wider discussion on environmental and ecological degradation in the context of inequality. Second, the concept of inequalities of opportunity freedoms, under the guise of the influential human capabilities framework, is well suited to make sense of the complexity and multidimensionality of the climate change – inequality nexus. To this end, some (and by no means all) causal links between climate change, wider environmental and ecological degradations, and inequality are analysed. The paper concludes by arguing in favour of a framework that can aptly capture the full complexity and multidimensionality of the climate change – inequality nexus.

About the author

Faus Onbargi, Alexia

Political Science

Faus Onbargi

Further experts

Aleksandrova, Mariya

Climate risk governance 

Balasubramanian, Pooja

Social Economics 

Bauer, Steffen

Political scientist 

Beck, Tanja

Political Science 

Brandi, Clara

Economy and Political Science 

Brüntrup, Michael

Agricultural Economy 

Burchi, Francesco

Development Economy 

Dick, Eva

Sociologist and Spatial Planner 

Dippel, Beatrice


Ekoh, Susan S.

Environmental Research 

Hägele, Ramona

Political Scientist 

Iacobuta, Gabriela

Climate and sustainable development policy 

Lehmann, Ina

Political Science 

Malerba, Daniele


Mathis, Okka Lou

Political Scientist 

Never, Babette

Political Scientist 

Pegels, Anna


Srigiri, Srinivasa Reddy

Agricultural Economist