Climate-Related Insecurity, Loss and Damage

Ethics, Policy and Environment 20 (2):184-194 (2017)


The harms of climate change are deeply uncertain. Though climate change will render most individuals more vulnerable to harm, many individuals will not actually suffer climate-related harms. In this paper, I argue that vulnerability to harms is itself a harm, because it undermines our enjoyment of the good of security. After some brief remarks on the concept of security, I give three reasons for thinking that depriving an individual of the security of basic goods harms them: it has a strong contingent connection to fear and anxiety, it directly undermines their ability to make reasonable plans, and security may reasonably be valued as an end in itself. This suggests that one of our goals in determining climate policy ought to be mechanisms which ensure the security of basic goods.

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Jonathan Herington
University of Rochester

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