Res Publica 28 (1):33-47 (2022)

Nils Holtug
University of Copenhagen
In the years to come, a great number of people are going to be displaced due to climate change. Climate refugees are going to migrate to find somewhere more hospitable to live. In light of this, many countries are likely to try to prevent the influx of climate refugees, and more specifically argue that they cannot reasonably be required to take in large numbers of refugees as this is simply too demanding. This objection—the demandingness objection to taking in climate refugees—is the focus of the present article. The ‘demandingness objection’ is clarified in greater detail. And it is pointed out that it relies on agent-relative options and that, according to what is dubbed ‘Kagan’s conditional’, agent-relative options require an agent-relative constraint against harming. This constraint, however, is violated when states significantly contribute to climate change and thus cause people to be harmed by the effects thereof. On this basis, it is argued that such states forfeit their right to invoke the demandingness objection. Roughly, when a state violates an individual’s right not to be harmed, it owes that individual to undo the harmful condition, or if that is not possible at least some form of compensation, and it cannot be relieved from that obligation by simply pointing out that it is costly to comply with it.
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DOI 10.1007/s11158-021-09513-4
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References found in this work BETA

The Limits of Morality.Shelly Kagan - 1989 - Oxford University Press.
The Problem of Global Justice.Thomas Nagel - 2005 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 33 (2):113-147.
Alienation, Consequentialism, and the Demands of Morality.Peter Railton - 1984 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 13 (2):134-171.
The Ethics of Immigration.Joseph Carens - 2013 - New York: Oxford University Press.

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