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Climate change burden sharing: capacity, responsibility, and the distinctive wrong of noncompliance

McLaughlin, A. (2019) Climate change burden sharing: capacity, responsibility, and the distinctive wrong of noncompliance. PhD thesis, University of Reading

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Abstract/Summary

This thesis provides an account of climate change burden sharing. I reject the view, known as integrationism, which holds that principles of burden sharing should be regulated solely by a general theory of distributive justice. I argue, positively, that two capacity-based principles ought to play the dominant role in burden sharing. The first, The Exemption, justifies subsistence emissions in a scarce carbon budget. I claim that the second, The Ability to Pay Principle (APP), is plausible in its own right and can also act as a proxy for historical responsibility for climate change, which I argue must be construed in terms of the overuse of the global emissions sink. I further develop a set of parameters of responsibility, which justify departures from the APP in special cases. The first two parameters allow us to move away from the APP in certain cases where it produces unfairness. l also add a harm avoidance constraint to these parameters, in order to guard against the possibility that they produce a shortfall in the net contribution to burden sharing. My final parameter holds developed states responsible for wrongful noncompliance. I claim that the noncompliance of these states with their obligations towards climate change burden sharing constitutes an additional and distinctly relational injustice. More specifically, I argue that it expresses a message of disrespect to particular agents in the present who are connected to those most vulnerable to climate impacts in a number of morally important ways.

Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Thesis Supervisor:McKinnon, C. and Jubb, R.
Thesis/Report Department:School of Politics, Economics & International Relations
Identification Number/DOI:
Divisions:Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Politics, Economics and International Relations > Politics and International Relations
ID Code:88759

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