The Paris Agreement: Truth, Obligations and "Noble Lies"

Ethics and the Environment 26 (2):1-20 (2021)
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Abstract:The Paris Agreement requires that States take action to avoid dangerous climate change. It is informed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that summarizes hundreds of scientific articles, yet the language of the treaty does not mirror the scientific literature. Instead, the Agreement encourages States to join in a collective effort without assigning responsibility for past emissions. The Agreement tells a story that does not track the truth. One justification is to see it as a "noble lie," and that, like in the Republic, it could be the story that States need to hear to do what must be done.



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