Sharing the responsibility of dealing with climate change: Interpreting the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities

In Jonathan Boston, Andrew Bradstock & David L. Eng (eds.), Public policy: why ethics matters. Acton, A.C.T.: ANUE Press. pp. 141-158 (2010)
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Abstract

In this chapter we first discuss the main principles of justice and note the standard objections to them, which we believe necessitate a hybrid approach. The hybrid account we defend is primarily based on the distributive principle of sufficientarianism, which we interpret as the idea that each country should have the means to provide a minimally decent quality of life for each of its citizens. We argue that sufficientarian considerations give good reason to think that what we call the ‘ability to pay objection’ should be taken much more seriously in this debate. Following this, our account emphasises what we believe are the two most important moral desiderata in any attempt to distribute responsibility for dealing with climate change: the ability to mitigate the problem and the making of culpable contributions to the problem. After noting that our proposal includes enough detail to be a useful start for policy makers, we defend our account against some potential objections.

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Author Profiles

Dan Weijers
University of Waikato
David Eng
Victoria University of Wellington
Ramon Das
Victoria University of Wellington

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Reasons and Persons.Derek Parfit - 1984 - Oxford, GB: Oxford University Press.
Anarchy, State, and Utopia.Robert Nozick - 1974 - New York: Basic Books.
Groundwork for the metaphysics of morals.Immanuel Kant - 1785 - New York: Oxford University Press. Edited by Thomas E. Hill & Arnulf Zweig.
The idea of justice.Amartya Sen - 2009 - Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.
Ethics and the limits of philosophy.Bernard Williams - 1985 - Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

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