Ethics, equity and the economics of climate change. Paper 1: science and philosophy

Produced as part of the Developing climate science and economics CCCEP research programme theme

Working Paper 84a


This paper examines a broad range of ethical perspectives and principles relevant to the analysis of issues raised by the science of climate change and explores their implications.

A second and companion paper extends this analysis to the contribution of ethics, economics and politics in understanding policy towards climate change.

These tasks must start with the science which tells us that this is a problem of risk management on an immense scale. Risks on this scale take us far outside the familiar policy questions and standard, largely marginal, techniques commonly used by economists; this is a subject that requires the full breadth and depth of what economics has to offer and a much more thoughtful view of ethics than economists usually bring to bear.

Different philosophical approaches bring different perspectives on understanding and policy, yet they generally point to the case for strong action to manage climate change.

Nicholas Stern