Article | De Ethica. A Journal of Philosophical, Theological and Applied Ethics | Climate Change and Responsibility to Future Generations: Reflections on the Normative Questions
De Ethica
A Journal of
Philosophical,
Theological and
Applied Ethics

Title:
Climate Change and Responsibility to Future Generations: Reflections on the Normative Questions
Author:
Robert Heeger: Utrecht University, The Netherlands
DOI:
10.3384/de-ethica.2001-8819.14119
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Abstract:
Climate change raises in an important way the problem of moral responsibility. It forces us to recognise that we have a responsibility to future generations, and to ask what this responsibility implies. Here I identify four key normative questions: (1) How should we respond to uncertainty? Should we apply cost-benefit analysis in order to cope with uncertainty? (2) How should we evaluate the emission of greenhouse gases? Given that the effects of emissions will be bad, should we judge that we as emitters harm the receivers and by that do them an injustice? (3) How should we compare present costs and future benefits? Should we give little or much weight to the benefits and well-being of people in the further future? (4) How should we take heed of human rights? Should we try to avoid the adverse outcomes of a cost-benefit approach by adopting a human rights approach that specifies minimum thresholds to which all human beings are entitled?
Keywords:
Uncertainty; Cost-benefit analysis; Duty of justice; Future benefits; Human rights approach
Year:
2014
Volume:
1
Issue:
1
Pages:
9-16
No. of pages:
8
Publication type:
Article
Published:
2014-03-31

Volume 1, Issue: 1, Article 3, 2014

Author:
Robert Heeger
Title:
Climate Change and Responsibility to Future Generations: Reflections on the Normative Questions:
DOI:
10.3384/de-ethica.2001-8819.14119
References:

Broome, John. Climate Matters: Ethics in a Warming World. New York/London: W.W. Norton, 2012.

Caney, Simon. ‘Climate change, human rights and moral thresholds’, in Human Rights and Climate Change, edited by Stephen Humphreys. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010, pp. 69-90.

Caney, Simon and Cameron Hepburn. ‘Carbon Trading: Unethical, Unjust and Inefficient?’, Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 69 (2011), pp. 201-234. doi: 10.1017/S1358246111000282

Gardiner, Stephen M. A Perfect Moral Storm: The Ethical Tragedy of Climate Change. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011. doi: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195379440.001.0001

Nordhaus, William. A Question of Balance. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2009.

Shue, Henry. ‘Climate Hope: Implementing the Exit Strategy.’ Chicago Journal of International Law 13:2 (2013), pp. 381-402.

Stern, Nicholas. The Economics of Climate Change. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007. doi: 10.1017/CBO9780511817434


Volume 1, Issue: 1, Article 3, 2014

Author:
Robert Heeger
Title:
Climate Change and Responsibility to Future Generations: Reflections on the Normative Questions:
DOI:
10.3384/de-ethica.2001-8819.14119
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