Climate Change

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In his chapter on “Global Justice and Climate Change,” Chris Armstrong discusses a number of different philosopher’s views about how we should distribute the benefits and burdens of dealing with climate change. After pointing out weaknesses with each of the views that he discusses, he concludes that an adequate theory of justice and climate change must address three issues: 1) Provide an account of how to integrate the various normative principles that seem relevant (equality, historical responsibility, and capacity to help); 2) Provide an account of how to deal not only with mitigation, but also with adaptation (for example, think of the small island nations discussed at the end of the chapter, as well as the article on areas of the world that are render uninhabitable due to temperature rise); and 3) Determine whether it is appropriate to consider emission of greenhouse gasses in isolation or as part of a wider account of climate justice (i.e. can we determine what is just with respect to greenhouses gasses as an isolated issue, or do we need a comprehensive theory of justice for all climate-related issues, such as ozone depletion, acid rain, etc.?). After reviewing the various views and weakness discussed by Armstrong, offer your own account of justice and climate change which attempts to address these three issues. Be sure to consider conflicts among the competing objectives and explain how these are to be balanced when such conflicts arise.

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