Chapter 8: Normative theory
Global climate change raises profound questions for normative theorists. Many, if not all, of these questions arise from the challenge of specifying how benefits and burdens associated with managing climate change should be distributed within and between generations. In this chapter, three interconnected dimensions of this challenge are explored. First, the problem of determining the entitlements of states and their populations to exploit the capacity of the atmosphere to assimilate greenhouse gases (GHGs) (‘justice in mitigation’). Second, the problem of achieving a fair division of benefits and burdens associated with activities aimed at adjusting human behavior avoid the adverse effects of climate changes that cannot, or will not, be avoided through measures of mitigation (‘justice in adaptation’). Third, the problem of assisting vulnerable populations that face climate change related losses and damages that cannot be avoided or educed by measures of mitigation and adaptation (‘justice in loss and damage’). It is argued that achieving justice on each dimension will involve assigning a range of demanding duties to states and other users of the atmosphere.
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