Climate change, intergenerational justice, and the non-identity effect

Intergenerational Justice Review 5 (2) (2020)
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Do we owe it to future generations, as a requirement of justice, to take action to mitigate anthropogenic climate change? This paper examines the implications of Derek Parfit’s notorious non-identity problem for that question. An argument from Jörg Tremmel that the non-identity effect of climate policy is “insignificant” is examined and found wanting, and a contrastive, difference-making approach for comparing different choices’ non-identity effects is developed. Using the approach, it is argued that the non-identity effect of a given policy response to climate change depends on the contrasting policy. Compared to a baseline scenario without further mitigation, the non-identity effect of choosing to limit climate change to 1.5°C would be highly significant.



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Thomas Bontly
University of Connecticut

Citations of this work

Climate Change and Non-Identity.Lukas Tank - 2022 - Utilitas 34 (1):84-96.

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References found in this work

Reasons and Persons.Derek Parfit - 1984 - Oxford, GB: Oxford University Press.
The analysis of variance and the analysis of causes.Richard C. Lewontin - 1974 - American Journal of Human Genetics 26 (3):400-11.
Cosmopolitan Justice, Responsibility, and Global Climate Change.Simon Caney - 2005 - Leiden Journal of International Law 18 (4):747-775.

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