Oxford University Press UK (2016)
Climate change confronts humanity with a challenge it has never faced before. It combines issues of global justice and intergenerational justice on an unprecedented scale. In particular, it stands to adversely affect the global poor. So far, the global community has failed to reduce emissions to levels that are necessary to avoid unacceptable risks for the future. Nor are the burdens of emission reductions and of coping with climate impacts fairly shared. The shortcomings of both political and individual climate action thus seem like a paradigmatic case for non-ideal theory. Non-ideal theory can be understood as a form of political theorising that compares different responses to (i) failures of agents to comply with the demands of justice and (ii) unfavourable circumstances. Insofar as non-ideal theory also aims to be action-guiding, it asks normative theorists for a more thorough engagement with the empirical context so as to arrive at practical recommendations for the ‘here and now’. This volume examines the normative issues that become relevant when the non-ideal circumstances of the climate context are fully taken into account. It is comprised of three parts: The first collects chapters that reflect on general issues in responding to the shortcomings of current climate action. Chapters in the second part propose more specific practical reforms. The third part examines how moral values ought to be brought into the scientific, political, and public debates under the non-ideal circumstances of this world.