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Kian Mintz-Woo
University College, Cork
  1. Will Carbon Taxes Help Address Climate Change?Kian Mintz-Woo - 2021 - Les ateliers de l'éthique/The Ethics Forum 16 (1):57-67.
    The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) crisis ought to serve as a reminder about the costs of failure to consider another long-term risk, climate change. For this reason, it is imperative to consider the merits of policies that may help to limit climate damages. This essay rebuts three common objections to carbon taxes: (1) that they do not change behaviour, (2) that they generate unfair burdens and increase inequality, and (3) that fundamental, systemic change is needed instead of carbon taxes. The (...)
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  2. A Philosopher’s Guide to Discounting.Kian Mintz-Woo - 2021 - In Mark Bryant Budolfson, Tristram McPherson & David Plunkett (eds.), Philosophy and Climate Change. Oxford University Press. pp. 90-110.
    This chapter introduces several distinctions relevant to what is called the “discounting problem”, since the issue is how (future) costs and benefits are discounted to make them comparable in present terms. The author defends the claim that there are good reasons to adopt Ramsey-style discounting in the context of climate change: the Ramsey rule is robust, flexible, and well-understood. An important distinction involved in discounting—“descriptivism” and “prescriptivism”—is discussed. It is argued that, even if we adopt prescriptivism, and accept that this (...)
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  3. Carbon Pricing and COVID-19.Kian Mintz-Woo, Francis Dennig, Hongxun Liu & Thomas Schinko - 2021 - Climate Policy 21 (10):1272-1280.
    [Article currently freely available to all at the DOI link below] A question arising from the COVID-19 crisis is whether the merits of cases for climate policies have been affected. This article focuses on carbon pricing, in the form of either carbon taxes or emissions trading. It discusses the extent to which relative costs and benefits of introducing carbon pricing may have changed in the context of COVID-19, during both the crisis and the recovery period to follow. In several ways, (...)
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  4.  97
    The Social Cost of Carbon: Valuing Inequality, Risk, and Population for Climate Policy.Marc Fleurbaey, Maddalena Ferranna, Mark Budolfson, Francis Dennig, Kian Mintz-Woo, Robert Socolow, Dean Spears & Stéphane Zuber - 2019 - The Monist 102 (1):84-109.
    We analyze the role of ethical values in the determination of the social cost of carbon, arguing that the familiar debate about discounting is too narrow. Other ethical issues are equally important to computing the social cost of carbon, and we highlight inequality, risk, and population ethics. Although the usual approach, in the economics of cost-benefit analysis for climate policy, is confined to a utilitarian axiology, the methodology of the social cost of carbon is rather flexible and can be expanded (...)
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  5. What Do Climate Change Winners Owe, and to Whom?Kian Mintz-Woo & Justin Leroux - 2021 - Economics and Philosophy 37 (3):462-483.
    Climate ethics has been concerned with polluter pays, beneficiary pays and ability to pay principles, all of which consider climate change as a single negative externality. This paper considers it as a constellation of externalities, positive and negative, with different associated demands of justice. This is important because explicitly considering positive externalities has not to our knowledge been done in the climate ethics literature. Specifically, it is argued that those who enjoy passive gains from climate change owe gains not to (...)
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  6.  93
    Fossil Fuels.Kian Mintz-Woo - forthcoming - In Benjamin Hale & Andrew Light (eds.), Routledge Companion to Environmental Ethics. Routledge.
    First, with respect to our personal relationship to fossil fuels, this chapter introduces arguments about whether we should or even can address our own usage of fossil fuels. This involves determining whether offsetting emissions is morally required and practically possible. Second, with respect to our relationship with fossil fuels at the national level, it discusses forms of local resistance, especially divestment and pipeline protesting. Finally, with respect to our relationship with fossil fuels at the international level, it considers two types (...)
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  7.  57
    The Ethics of Measuring Climate Change Impacts.Kian Mintz-Woo - 2021 - In Trevor M. Letcher (ed.), The Impacts of Climate Change. Elsevier. pp. 521-535.
    This chapter qualitatively lays out some of the ways that climate change impacts are evaluated in integrated assessment models (IAMs). Putting aside the physical representations of these models, it first discusses some key social or structural assumptions, such as the damage functions and the way growth is modeled. Second, it turns to the moral assumptions, including parameters associated with intertemporal evaluation and interpersonal inequality aversion, but also assumptions in population ethics about how different-sized populations are compared and how we think (...)
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  8. Principled Utility Discounting Under Risk.Kian Mintz-Woo - 2019 - Moral Philosophy and Politics 6 (1):89-112.
    Utility discounting in intertemporal economic modelling has been viewed as problematic, both for descriptive and normative reasons. However, positive utility discount rates can be defended normatively; in particular, it is rational for future utility to be discounted to take into account model-independent outcomes when decision-making under risk. The resultant values will tend to be smaller than descriptive rates under most probability assignments. This also allows us to address some objections that intertemporal considerations will be overdemanding. A principle for utility discount (...)
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  9.  81
    Put a Price on Carbon Now!Peter Singer & Kian Mintz-Woo - 2020 - Project Syndicate.
    [Newspaper Opinion] Before the COVID-19 pandemic and the accompanying fall in oil prices, a carbon price would have been immediately painful for the countries that imposed it, but far better for everyone over the longer term. In this unprecedented moment, introducing a carbon price would be beneficial both now and for the future.
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  10. A New Defence of Probability Discounting.Kian Mintz-Woo - 2017 - In Adrian Walsh, Säde Hormio & Duncan Purves (eds.), The Ethical Underpinnings of Climate Economics. Oxford: Routledge. pp. 87-102.
    When probability discounting (or probability weighting), one multiplies the value of an outcome by one's subjective probability that the outcome will obtain in decision-making. The broader import of defending probability discounting is to help justify cost-benefit analyses in contexts such as climate change. This chapter defends probability discounting under risk both negatively, from arguments by Simon Caney (2008, 2009), and with a new positive argument. First, in responding to Caney, I argue that small costs and benefits need to be evaluated, (...)
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  11.  12
    Science for Loss and Damage. Findings and Propositions.Reinhard Mechler, Elisa Calliari, Laurens M. Bouwer, Thomas Schinko, Swenja Surminski, JoAnne Linnerooth-Bayer & Kian Mintz-Woo - 2019 - In Reinhard Mechler, Laurens M. Bouwer, Thomas Schinko, Swenja Surminski & JoAnne Linnerooth-Bayer (eds.), Loss and Damage from Climate Change. pp. 3-37.
    This introductory chapter summarises key findings of the twenty-two book chapters in terms of five propositions. These propositions, each building on relevant findings linked to forward-looking suggestions for research, policy and practice, reflect the architecture of the book, whose sections proceed from setting the stage to critical issues, followed by a section on methods and tools, to chapters that provide geographic perspectives, and finally to a section that identifies potential policy options. The propositions comprise (1) Risk management can be an (...)
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  12. The Ethical Challenges in the Context of Climate Loss and Damage.Ivo Wallimann-Helmer, Kian Mintz-Woo, Lukas Meyer, Thomas Schinko & Olivia Serdeczny - 2019 - In Reinhard Mechler, Laurens M. Bouwer, Thomas Schinko, Swenja Surminski & JoAnne Linnerooth-Bayer (eds.), Loss and Damage from Climate Change. Cham: Springer. pp. 39-62.
    This chapter lays out what we take to be the main types of justice and ethical challenges concerning those adverse effects of climate change leading to climate-related Loss and Damage (L&D). We argue that it is essential to clearly differentiate between the challenges concerning mitigation and adaptation and those ethical issues exclusively relevant for L&D in order to address the ethical aspects pertaining to L&D in international climate policy. First, we show that depending on how mitigation and adaptation are distinguished (...)
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  13.  38
    Two Moral Arguments for a Global Social Cost of Carbon.Kian Mintz-Woo - 2018 - Ethics, Policy and Environment 21 (1):60-63.
    [Comment] Donald Trump’s executive order on energy limits the costs and benefits of carbon to domestic sources. The argument for this executive order is that carbon policies should not be singled out from other policies as globally inclusive. Two independent arguments are offered for adopting a global social cost of carbon. The first is based on reinforcing norms in the face of commons tragedies. The second is based on the limitations of consequentialist analyses. We can distinguish consequences for which probabilistic (...)
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  14. On Parfit’s Ontology.Kian Mintz-Woo - 2018 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 48 (5):707-725.
    Parfit denies that the introduction of reasons into our ontology is costly for his theory. He puts forth two positions to help establish the claim: the Plural Senses View and the Argument from Empty Ontology. I argue that, first, the Plural Senses View for ‘exists’ can be expanded to allow for senses which undermine his ontological claims; second, the Argument from Empty Ontology can be debunked by Platonists. Furthermore, it is difficult to make statements about reasons true unless these statements (...)
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  15.  27
    Security and Distribution, or Should You Care About Merely Possible Losses?Kian Mintz-Woo - 2019 - Ethics, Policy and Environment 21 (3):382-386.
    [Comment] Jonathan Herington argues that harms can occur whether or not there is actually a loss. He claims that subjectively or objectively merely being at risk of losing access to basic goods is sufficient for lowering that individual’s well-being for the value of ‘security’. I challenge whether losing access to basic goods is sufficient to justify the introduction of this value. I also point to some issues in his interpretation of IPCC risk categories and the social science research he relies (...)
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  16.  23
    Moral Uncertainty Over Policy Evaluation.Kian Mintz-Woo - 2018 - Erasmus Journal for Philosophy and Economics 11 (2):291-294.
    [Dissertation summary] When performing intertemporal cost-benefit analyses of policies, both in terms of climate change and other long-term problems, the discounting problem becomes critical. The question is how to weight intertemporal costs and benefits to generate present value equivalents. This thesis argues that those best placed to answer the discounting problem are domain experts, not moral philosophers or the public at large. It does this by arguing that the discounting problem is a special case of an interesting class of problems, (...)
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  17.  56
    Infant Feeding and the Energy Transition: A Comparison Between Decarbonising Breastmilk Substitutes with Renewable Gas and Achieving the Global Nutrition Target for Breastfeeding.Aoife Long, Kian Mintz-Woo, Hannah Daly, Maeve O'Connell, Beatrice Smyth & Jerry D. Murphy - 2021 - Journal of Cleaner Production 324:129280.
    Highlights: -/- • Breastfeeding and breastfeeding support can contribute to mitigating climate change. • Achieving global nutrition targets will save more emissions than fuel-switching. • Breastfeeding support programmes support a just transition. • This work can support the expansion of mitigation options in energy system models. -/- Abstract: -/- Renewable gas has been proposed as a solution to decarbonise industrial processes, specifically heat demand. As part of this effort, the breast-milk substitutes industry is proposing to use renewable gas as a (...)
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  18. Book Review: Environmental Ethics: From Theory to Practice. [REVIEW]Kian Mintz-Woo - 2015 - Ethical Perspectives 22 (4):732-735.
    Book review of "Marion Hourdequin. Environmental Ethics: From Theory to Practice. London: Bloomsbury, 2015. 256 pp.".
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  19.  13
    Climate Economics and Normative Expertise.Kian Mintz-Woo - unknown
    I discuss three families of methodologies that could be used to assign values to the normative parameters relevant to social discounting in welfare economics generally, and climate economics more specifically. First, I argue that in particular circumstances, there cannot be philosophical argumentation for normative questions; specifically, this occurs when the particular values being sought are both non-critical and from a quantitative range. Second, I argue that social preferences are insufficient if we take the problem to be normative and that proposals (...)
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  20.  99
    Carbon Pricing Ethics.Kian Mintz-Woo - 2022 - Philosophy Compass 17 (1):e12803.
    The three main types of policies for addressing climate change are command and control regulation, carbon taxes (or price instruments), and cap and trade (or quantity instruments). The first question in the ethics of carbon pricing is whether the latter two (price and quantity instruments) are preferable to command and control regulation. The second question is, if so, how should we evaluate the relative merits of price and quantity instruments. I canvass relevant arguments to explain different ways of addressing these (...)
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  21.  43
    Introducing Climate Ethics and a New Climate Principle.Kian Mintz-Woo - 2021 - American Philosophical Association Blog.
    [Blog Post] This blog post (1) introduces a fundamental debate in climate ethics (polluter pays v beneficiary pays v ability to pay principles) while (2) arguing for a new principle (polluter pays, then receives, or PPTR/"Peter", principle).
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  22.  14
    On Referential Opacity in Spinoza's Ethics.Kian Mintz-Woo - 2009 - Praxis 2 (2).
    In Spinoza’s system, the identity of mental modes and extended modes is suggested, but a formal argument for its truth is difficult to extract. One prima facie difficulty for the claim that mental and extended modes are identical is that substitution of co-referential terms in contexts which are specific to thought or extension fails to preserve truth value. Della Rocca has answered this challenge by claiming that Spinoza relies upon referentially opaque contexts. In this essay, I defend this solution by (...)
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  23.  56
    Public Values in the Right Context.Kian Mintz-Woo - 2020 - Australasian Philosophical Review 4 (1):57-62.
    [Comment] I am sympathetic to Avner de Shalit’s position that a political philosophy should incorporate public values, but I see their role differently. Philosophers of science standardly distinguish between values being introduced in the context of discovery (inputs into the investigation or arguments) and in the context of justification (acceptance or rejection of substantive claims in light of the arguments or investigation). I argue that de Shalit is wrong to put the public values in the context of discovery; with respect (...)
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  24. Why and Where to Fund Carbon Capture and Storage.Kian Mintz-Woo & Joe Lane - 2021 - Science and Engineering Ethics 27 (6):70.
    This paper puts forward two claims about funding carbon capture and storage. The first claim is that there are moral justifications supporting strategic investment into CO2 storage from global and regional perspectives. One argument draws on the empirical evidence which suggests carbon capture and storage would play a significant role in a portfolio of global solutions to climate change; the other draws on Rawls' notion of legitimate expectations and Moellendorf's Anti-Poverty principle. The second claim is that where to pursue this (...)
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  25.  51
    Why COVID-19 is the Right Time to Increase Carbon Prices.Kian Mintz-Woo - 2020 - RTÉ Brainstorm.
    [Newspaper opinion] strengthening carbon pricing during COVID-19 is the best time to do so for both consumers and for governments.
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  26.  17
    Blogging Climate Change: A Case Study.Erangu Purath Mohankumar Sajeev, Kian Mintz-Woo, Matthias Damert, Lukas Brunner & Jessica Eise - 2019 - In W. Leal Filho, B. Lackner & H. McGhie (eds.), Addressing the Challenges in Communicating Climate Change Across Various Audiences. Springer. pp. 129-142.
    Public perception of the magnitude of challenges associated with climate change is still lower than that of the majority of scientists. The societal relevance of climate change has raised the need for a more direct communication between scientists and the public. However, peer-reviewed scientific articles are not well-suited to engaging a wider audience. This begets a need to explore other avenues for communicating climate change. Social media is a vibrant source for information exchange among the masses. Blogs in particular are (...)
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