Climate Change, Justice, and Future Generations

Date: 18 Jan 2011
Speaker(s): Joerg Tremmel
Venue: London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE)


Part of the 2011 Lent Term seminar series

Next to the expanding bookshelves in the natural sciences and in political science, there is a growing library written by the new breed of ‘climate ethicists’ (Broome, Caney, Jamieson, Gardiner, Gosseries, Meyer, Ott, Page, Shue, Singer, Sunstein, Vanderheiden, to mention only a few) on the ethics of climate policy.

This comes as no surprise when we consider that anthropocentric climate change is one of the greatest problems for the future of mankind. Its impacts are potentially catastrophic and this implies that existing political institutions need to be changed.

Moral arguments have played an important role at every round of the political climate talks so far and this will not change in the future. World leaders could not ignore moral arguments, even if they wanted to, because they act under the public eye. But it is far from obvious what is the right route to take from a purely moral point of view.

Climate change poses a serious problem for established ethical theories. This talk outlined the ethical intricacies and evaluate the normative justifications brought forward by the participants of international climate negotiations.