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Transcript
Sharing the Responsibilities of
Dealing with Climate Change:
Interpreting the Principle of Common but
Differentiated Responsibilities
Dan Turton, David Eng, Ramon Das
Victoria University of Wellington
Overview and Goals
• Set the scene: the climate change problem
and the PCDR
• Discuss the ethical principles for
interpreting PCDR and their justifications
• Argue for particular combination of ethical
principles – distinctive justification
• Identify some key unresolved
issues/questions
Climate Change Problem
• Climate Change Problem:
– Increasing concentrations of Atmospheric
GHGs
– Rapid environmental changes e.g.
temperature
– Likely to result in devastating consequences
for humankind
• Requires (perhaps!) reducing GHGs 350450 ppm by 2020
Good Solution to the Problem
• Assuming we want to reduce atmospheric
GHGs to some level by some time…
• What are the best kinds of policies for
distributing ethical responsibility to achieve
this?
– Criteria
• Fair
• Justified
• Achievable
Principle of Common but
Differentiated Responsibilities
• Principle 7 of Rio Declaration on
Environment and Sustainability (1992)
• “In view of the different contributions to
global environmental degradation, States
have common but differentiated
responsibilities.”
• Disagreements about interpretation
• Current interpretations - unfair and
inadequate
Common Approaches:
Polluter Pays Principle 1
• Those who pollute should pay
• Justification – If an agent causes harm,
they are responsible for remedying harm
• Example Policies
– Cap and trade on GHG emissions
• Absolute cap (350-450 ppm) distributed on GHG
emissions/capita
– Taxes directly linked to polluting over quota
Common Approaches:
Polluter Pays Principle 2
•
2 Variations
–
Full liability – PPP regardless of whether the agent
knows that the actions are harmful
•
Problems:
1. Inter-generational problem – Unfair to hold current generation
accountable for actions of previous generation
2. Unfair to assign moral responsibility when agents aren’t aware
of harmful consequences of their actions
–
Conditional liability (CPPP) – PPP conditional on
‘knowing’
•
Practical problem - Fair but insufficient distribution of
responsibilities to solve problem
Common Approaches:
Beneficiary Pays Principle 1
• Those who benefit should pay
• Justification
– if an agent benefits at a cost to others, the agent
should pay for those costs
– Avoids inter-generational problem facing PPP
• Example policies
– Developed countries that have benefited from GHG
emissions should pay for majority of mitigation and
adaptation costs
– Taxes on profits from polluting
Common Approaches:
Beneficiary Pays Principle 2
• Problems
– Not feasible – how do we distinguish when
individuals benefit based on polluting versus
non-polluting activities?
– Unfair - Ignores knowing polluters
– Non-identity problem
Common Approaches:
Ability to Pay Principle 1
• Those who have the ability should pay
• Justification
– ‘Drowning child example’
– Addresses problem of historical polluting
• Example policies
– Richer states should contribute to an international
fund that helps poorer countries adapt to climate
change and industrialise in a more sustainable way
– Potential ability threshold band - annual per capita
GDP(PPP) is above $4,000-5,000 (International $)
Common Approaches:
Ability to Pay Principle 2
• Problem:
– In certain cases, APP assigns moral
responsibility to the wrong agents and ignores
other morally relevant factors
• Knowing polluters
Summary of Common Approaches
• Individual Principles
– Each fails to capture a moral dimension of the
Climate Change Problem
• PPP
– Suffers from a dilemma about historical polluting
• BPP
– Ignores knowing polluters and measurement problem
• APP
– Unfairly assigns responsibility to those who are
innocent and have the ability when others are morally
culpable
Hybrid Approaches
• “The developed countries acknowledge
the responsibility that they bear in the
international pursuit of sustainable
development in view of the pressures their
societies place on the global environment
and of the technologies and financial
resources they command.”
• PPP and APP (Caney, OXFAM AFI, and
Our Account)
Hybrid Approaches
Caney
Principles
of Justice
OXFAM
(AFI)
Our
Account
CPPP; APP FPPP
APP; CPPP
(50%) &
APP (50%)
Justification Universal
None
Sufficienta
human right
…rianism
to equal
share of
atmosphere
Our Hybrid Account
• Hybrid of CPPP and APP
– CPPP – it is wrong to knowingly pollute over
the quota, but only if the citizens of a state
meet a basic level of welfare (APP)
– APP – states, whose citizens exceed a certain
basic level of welfare, have a responsibility to
mitigate and help other countries adapt to
climate change…
Justifying Our Hybrid Account
1) Sufficientarianism – All individuals should have
access to basic level of well-being
2) States have…
a) A primary responsibility – to ensure a basic level of
welfare for their citizens, and…
b) A secondary responsibility – to ensure the same
basic level of welfare for all people
3) Wrong to knowingly pollute
4) 2a overrides 3 because fundamental moral
considerations of humanity/welfare should
have priority over narrow conceptions of justice
How Our Account Works
Meets minimum ability
(welfare) threshold?
Yes
Moral
responsibility
to deal with its
own culpable
GHG emitting
(CPPP)
No
Moral responsibility to
pursue a minimally
decent quality of life
for its citizens (APP)
Yes
Moral
responsibility to
deal with nonculpable historical
GHG emissions
(APP)
Policies should incentivise reduction
of GHG emissions to safe levels
Policies should
ensure
contribution to
an international
fund that helps
poorer countries
adapt to climate
change and
industrialised in
a more
sustainable way
Policies should
allow for
increase in
GHG
emissions, but
only in order to
increase the
well-being of
citizens
Some Difficult Unresolved Issues
• What is a minimally good life?
• What is required to reach this basic level of
sufficiency?
• What is the best way of measuring well-being?
• How do moral responsibilities get translated into
specific GHG targets?
• What should be the overall target for
atmospheric GHGs?
• How should future people be valued?