Climate change and the duties of the disadvantaged: reply to Caney


Discussions of where the costs of climate change adaptation and mitigation should fall often focus on the 'polluter pays principle' or the 'ability to pay principle'. Simon Caney has recently defended a 'hybrid view', which includes versions of both of these principles. This article argues that Caney's view succeeds in overcoming several shortfalls of both principles, but is nevertheless subject to three important objections: first, it does not distinguish between those emissions which are hard to avoid and those which are easy to avoid; second, its only partial reference to all-things-considered justice means it cannot provide a full account even of climate justice; and third, it assigns to the poor very limited duties to meet climate change costs, even where they have created those costs, which may incentivise them to increase emissions. An alternative pluralistic account which avoids these objections is presented.


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Author's Profile

Carl Knight
University of Glasgow

References found in this work

A Theory of Justice: Revised Edition.John Rawls - 1999 - Harvard University Press.
Utilitarianism.J. S. Mill - 1861 - Oxford University Press UK.
Utilitarianism.John Stuart Mill - 1863 - Cleveland: Cambridge University Press.
Equality and Equal Opportunity for Welfare.Richard J. Arneson - 1989 - Philosophical Studies 56 (1):77 - 93.

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Citations of this work

Historical Use of the Climate Sink.Megan Blomfield - 2016 - Res Publica 22 (1):67-81.
Moderate Emissions Grandfathering.Carl Knight - 2014 - Environmental Values 23 (5):571-592.
Climate Change, Fundamental Interests, and Global Justice.Carl Knight - 2016 - Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy 19 (5):629-644.

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