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Transcript
Climate Change
Economists on Climate Change

Have tended to champion using a cost-benefit analysis
to determine what to do.

Have tended to champion discounting to account for
future people and future scenarios.

Have tended to stress scientific uncertainty.

Have tended to stress an “adaptive” strategy.
Climate Change and Justice

Distributive Justice: What is a fair or equitable distribution of
the burdens and benefits of climate change?

Procedural Justice: How should responsibilities about what to
do be defined and delegated?

Participatory Justice: Who gets to delegate the responsibilities
and decide what to do and how it should be done?

Recognition Justice: What kinds of power from different nationstates and other political actors should be recognized?
Ruchi Anand on Northern Hegemony
“The industrialized countries of the North being more powerful in
many ways—i.e. politically, diplomatically, economically,
militarily, in terms of scientific research etc.—they are more able
[or capable] to tackle the problem of climate change. ‘Capability’
also implies that if the industrialized countries of the North
were to decide that the problem of climate change was
immediate, urgent, serious and worth addressing without
compromises, no other country of the South, individually or as a
coalition, could block their actions, whereas the reverse scenario
does not hold true. If countries of the South wanted to move
on with the climate change agreement, while the North rejected,
was not certain of, or not yet decided on climate change as an
issue worth pursing, the South would be unable to do much
without the approval and support of the industrialized North.”
International Environmental Justice: A North-South Dimension (p. 41)
Ruchi Anand on Northern (U.S.) Hegemony
“Just as the industrialized countries of the North wield the power to stay in the
climate change negotiations and dictate terms, they also wield the power of
non-cooperation, thereby having the ability to bring the efforts of all others
in the international community to a complete halt. The United States’
rejection of the Kyoto Protocol and its decision to walk out of the regime has
undermined the worth of the Kyoto Protocol. Efforts to curb climate
change have lost support from the most powerful country in the world today,
and have also lost the participation of the main polluter (generator of
greenhouse gases) from the Convention. … A reverse hypothetical scenario
would be a developing country staging a walkout from the Convention
without the North approving of it doing so. The industrialized North would
have many ways to arm-twist and use conditionality to bring the violator
country back to its knees, and would not make as much difference, in any
case.” International Environmental Justice: A North-South Dimension (p. 57)
Vulnerability
Who is most likely to get hit the hardest—suffer the
greatest costs—by climate change?




Global South
Lower income communities and the poorer sectors of
societies (poor pays, not polluter pays)
Non-dominant groups of people in countries with
strong ethnic, religious, and other divides.
Women and children
Six Possibilities for Burden-Sharing
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
Polluter Pays.
Equal Entitlements: Everyone is entitled to an equal share of the
atmospheric commons.
Performance: Countries who use energy more efficiently should be
rewarded with more benefits.
Focus on the Poor: Improve the situation of the poorest countries of the
South, with the long-range intention of mitigating unequal distributions of
wealth.
Securing Basic Needs: Countries emitting more than what is deemed
“reasonable” to support a consistent, modest standard of living should
accept far higher mitigation costs than countries facing more poverty.
Solvency: Costs should be distributed among states according to their
ability to pay and their contribution to the problem of climate change.
This is probably closest to the provisions of the Kyoto Protocol.
Kyoto Protocol



Negotiated at the 1997 third Conference of the Parties
(COP) following negotiations formally started at the
Rio Earth Summit in 1992.
Regulates greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
Annex I countries were to reduce their GHG emissions
to 5.2% below their 1990 levels by the years 2008-2012.
http://unfccc.int/parties_and_observers/parties/annex_i/items/2774.php


In order to go into effect, at least 55 countries that
collectively emitted at least 55% of the total GHG
emissions in 1990 had to ratify the Protocol.
Protocol went into effect on February 16, 2005.
More Kyoto Protocol





As of December, 2006, 169 countries have ratified the Kyoto
Protocol.
The two notable Annex I countries that have not ratified the
Protocol are Australia and the United States.
China, India, and other developing countries are exempt from
mandatory GHG emissions restrictions.
Annex I countries are obligated to provide financial and
technological assistance to developing countries.
Following COP 6 (2001), a system of emissions credits and
emission rights trading among countries was added to the
Protocol.
http://unfccc.int/resource/docs/convkp/kpeng.html
United States Opposition to Kyoto
When the Kyoto Protocol was negotiated in 1997, it incorporated two
strategies recommended by President Clinton and Vice-President Gore to
meet U.S. needs and demands: (1) an emission trading scheme, and (2) a
clean development mechanism.
 On July 25, 1997 before the Kyoto Protocol was finalized, the U.S. Senate
passed the Byrd-Hagel Resolution, by a vote of 95-0:
http://www.nationalcenter.org/KyotoSenate.html
 On June 11, 2001, President George W. Bush said: “The Kyoto Protocol was
fatally flawed in fundamental ways.”
 One consistent U.S. criticism of the Protocol has been that the Protocol
holds developing countries like China and India to only voluntary compliance
standards.
 President Bush has stated that the best U.S. strategy for combating climate
change is to hold U.S. companies to voluntary compliance standards.

Some Criticisms of the Kyoto Protocol
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
The Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) allows developed countries to
invest in developing countries to gain GHG emissions credits. This might
allow developed countries to continue to emit GHGs while paying
developing countries not to. (carbon colonization?)
Emissions trading allows a country like Spain to buy credits from another
country like Russia, thus enabling Spain to continue to emit high levels of
GHGs. (license to pollute?)
Joint Implementation (JI) allows an industrialized country or company from
an industrialized country to invest emission-reducing or CO2 mitigating
activities in other developed countries to gain climate credits or reduction
units. But JI is not clearly defined, and it might allow for investments in
developing countries, thus allowing developed countries to continue to emit
high levels of GHGs.
With great changes in the economies of countries such as Russia between
1990 to today, the developed vs. developing country distinction might be
problematic.
Key countries such as China and India have no mandated GHG emissions
restrictions.
Some More Criticisms of the Kyoto Protocol
6.
7.
8.
9.
10.
11.
Enforcement mechanisms for non-compliance are not clear.
The Protocol only covers carbon dioxide emissions.
The 1990 baseline might not be the best baseline or might be
an arbitrary baseline.
The GHG emissions limits (5.6%) might be too high or too
low.
There might be disproportionate economic impacts on
different countries.
The Protocol might have little practical effect in mitigating
climate change.
But

Kyoto Protocol defenders argue that something is
better than nothing to legally mitigate climate change,
and an imperfect agreement is better than a perfect
agreement that doesn’t exist.
and

Future changes can be made to strengthen the
Protocol.
“A Perfect Moral Storm: Climate Change,
Intergenerational Ethics and the Problem of Moral
Corruption”
Stephen M. Gardiner: “The peculiar features of the
climate change problem pose a substantial obstacle to
our ability to make the hard choices necessary to
address it. Climate change is a perfect moral storm”
First Spatial Perspective of the Moral Storm
Dispersion of causes and effects of climate
change makes it hard to pinpoint moral
geographical locations.
Second Spatial Perspective of the Moral Storm
Fragmentation of human agency makes it difficult
to respond to climate change. From an
individual’s perspective, it is rational not to
restrict one’s own pollution, while from a
collective perspective it is rational to restrict
pollution = Tragedy of the commons.
Third Spatial Perspective of the Moral Storm
Institutional inadequacy hampers efforts to respond to
climate change, in that:
1. There is no effective global governance system.
2. Some nations might wonder if they will be
better or worse off because of climate change.
3. Effectively mitigating climate change might
require deep and profound changes in economic
and political structures.
First Temporal Perspective of the Moral Storm
Dispersion of causes and effects over time might undermotivate people to mitigate climate change because of:
1. The resiliency of the climate change phenomenon.
2. The fact that climate change impacts are seriously
back-loaded.
3. Climate change is a substantially deferred
phenomenon.
Second Temporal Perspective
of the Moral Storm
Fragmentation of human agency across time makes it
difficult to respond to climate change. From an
individual generation’s perspective, it is rational not to
restrict current pollution, while from a collective
intergenerational perspective it is rational to restrict
pollution = Intergenerational tragedy of the commons.
Third Temporal Perspective of the Moral
Storm
This intergenerational tragedy of the commons has multiplier
effects, namely:
1. Inaction now raises transition costs that might make
future change harder.
2. Insufficient action now might make some generations
suffer unnecessarily (e.g., CC harms future generations
A, B, and C, but current inaction leads to harming
future generations D and E as well).
3. Insufficient action now might result in tragic choices for future
generations.
Theoretical Storm
Our best theories face severe difficulties addressing issues
such as scientific problems of uncertainty, ethical
problems of collective agency, justice problems of how
to think about intergenerational equity, and ethical
problems of how to think about the values of
nonhuman nature.
Moral Corruption
Humans are often:








Distracted
Complacent
Unreasonable
Self-deceptive
Manipulative
Selectively attentive
Delusional
Hypocritical
Because of these human characteristics, and because climate change involves a
complex convergence of problems, we will often fall prey to moral
corruption.
The Perfect Moral Storm of Climate Change
Climate Change Exercise








USA
EU (European Union)
China
India
Africa
AOSIS (Alliance of Small Island States)
Latin America
Eastern Europe
Considerations
1.
Binding emissions targets

2.
Should they exist? If so, in what form? If not, why not?
Economic development


3.
How would a CC response affect your ED?
How much of an effect is acceptable?
Ethical responsibility/Procedural justice


4.
Who is responsible for responding to CC?
How should responsibility be allocated?
Emissions trading

5.
Should it exist? If so, in what form? If not, why not?
Technology transfer/Financial assistance

6.
Should it exist? If so, in what form? If not, why not?
National security


How would a CC response affect your NS?
How much of an effect is acceptable?
Discussion
 You are President of the World
(El Queso Grande)

How would you orchestrate a global response
to climate change?

Who should do what and why?