Journal of Global Ethics etc.

For the more academically oriented readers, today I present four peer-reviewed publications in academic journals on the topic of „fighting climate change“.

Simon Caney: Justice and the distribution of greenhouse gas emissions

„The prospect of dangerous climate change requires Humanity to limit the emission of greenhouse gases. This in turn raises the question of how the permission to emit greenhouse gases should be distributed and among whom. In this article the author criticises three principles of distributive justice that have often been advanced in this context. He also argues that the predominantly statist way in which the question is framed occludes some morally relevant considerations. The latter part of the article turns from critique and advances a new way of addressing the problem. In particular, first, it proposes four key theses that should guide our normative analysis; and, second, it outlines how these four theses can be realised in practice.“

Simon Caney: Climate change and the duties of the advantaged

„Climate change poses grave threats to many people, including the most vulnerable. This prompts the question of who should bear the burden of combating ‘dangerous’ climate change. Many appeal to the Polluter Pays Principle. I argue that it should play an important role in any adequate analysis of the responsibility to combat climate change, but suggest that it suffers from three limitations and that it needs to be revised. I then consider the Ability to Pay Principle and consider four objections to this principle. I suggest that, when suitably modified, it can supplement the Polluter Pays Principle.“

Christian Baatz: Climate Change and Individual Duties to Reduce GHG Emissions

„Although actions of individuals do contribute to climate change, the question whether or not they, too, are morally obligated to reduce the GHG emissions in their responsibility has not yet been addressed sufficiently. First, I discuss prominent objections to such a duty. I argue that whether individuals ought to reduce their emissions depends on whether or not they exceed their fair share of emission rights. In a next step I discuss several proposals for establishing fair shares and also take practical considerations into account. I conclude that individuals should not always be obliged to reduce their emissions to what is their fair share for they may depend on carbon-intensive structures. Instead, they have a Kantian imperfect duty to reduce their emissions ‘as far as can reasonably be demanded of them’. In addition, they should press governments to introduce proper regulation. At the end, I further specify both duties.“

Elizabeth Cripps: Climate change, collective harm and legitimate coercion

„Liberalism faces a tension between its commitment to minimal interference with individual liberty and the urgent need for strong collective action on global climate change. This paper attempts to resolve that tension. It does so on the one hand by defending an expanded model of collective moral responsibility, according to which a set of individuals can be responsible, qua ‘putative group’, for harm resulting from the predictable aggregation of their individual acts. On the other, it defends a collectivized version of the harm principle. The claim is that the collectivized principle pushes the burden of argument, against coercively enforced measures to curtail climate change and compensate its victims, onto the global elite collectively responsible for environmental harms. Some such potential arguments are briefly considered and rejected.“

I highly recommend clicking through the other articles linked on the journal webpages. There are many interesting papers there!