Philosophy and Technology 26 (2):117-137 (2013)

Mathias Frisch
Universität Hannover
Climate change presents us with a problem of intergenerational justice. While any costs associated with climate change mitigation measures will have to be borne by the world’s present generation, the main beneficiaries of mitigation measures will be future generations. This raises the question to what extent present generations have a responsibility to shoulder these costs. One influential approach for addressing this question is to appeal to neo-classical economic cost–benefit analyses and so-called economy-climate “integrated assessment models” to determine what course of action a principle of intergenerational welfare maximization would require of us. I critically examine a range of problems for this approach. First, integrated assessment models face a problem of underdetermination and induction: They are very sensitive to a number of highly conjectural assumptions about economic responses to a temperature and climate regime, for which we have no empirical evidence. Second, they involve several simplifying assumptions which cannot be justified empirically. And third, some of the assumptions underlying the construction of economic models are intrinsically normative assumptions that reflect value judgments of the modeler. I conclude that, while integrated assessment models may play a useful role as “toy models,” their use as tools for policy optimization is highly problematic
Keywords Climate change  Economics  Models  Cost–benefit analysis  Future discounting
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DOI 10.1007/s13347-013-0099-6
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References found in this work BETA

The Precautionary Principle and the Dilemma Objection.Daniel Steel - 2013 - Ethics, Policy and Environment 16 (3):321-340.

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Citations of this work BETA

Making Climate Decisions.Richard Bradley & Katie Steele - 2015 - Philosophy Compass 10 (11):799-810.
Predictivism and Old Evidence: A Critical Look at Climate Model Tuning.Mathias Frisch - 2015 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 5 (2):171-190.
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Value Management and Model Pluralism in Climate Science.Julie Jebeile & Michel Crucifix - 2021 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 88 (August 2021):120-127.

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