Environmental Values 22 (6):725-749 (2013)

Climate change poses a serious problem for established ethical theories. There is no dearth of literature on the subject of climate ethics that break down the complexity of the issue, thereby enabling one to arrive at partial conclusions such as: 'historical justice demands us to do this...' or 'intergenerational justice demands us to do that...'. In contrast, this article attempts to face up to this complexity, that is: to end with a synthesis of the arguments into what can be considered to be the most reasonable and fairest approach to the politics of climate change on a global scale. A significant part of the paper is devoted to the questions whether or not a) historical emissions and b) population changes are relevant to how emissions rights should be distributed. I discuss the merits and drawbacks of each perspective and briefly outline the normative justifications.
Keywords climate change  climate ethics  distributive justice  historical justice  intergenerational justice  political theory  population growth
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DOI 10.3197/096327113X13781997646539
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