Show Less
You do not have access to this content

Global Climate Justice

Proposals, Arguments and Justification

Olivier Godard

In this thoughtful and original book, social scientist Olivier Godard considers the ways in which arguments of justice cling to international efforts to address global climate change. Proposals made by governments, experts and NGOs as well as concepts and arguments born of moral and political philosophy are introduced and critically examined. Godard contributes to this important debate by showing why global climate justice is still controversial, despite it being a key issue of our times.
Show Summary Details
You do not have access to this content

Chapter 7: The equitable sharing of a carbon budget

Proposals, Arguments and Justification

Olivier Godard

Extract

The idea of a carbon budget to be shared equitably between countries has led to the identification of four possible principles: respect for pre-existing rights; proportionality to capabilities; responsibility for the creation of the climate threat; and equity, to take account of the relevant circumstances of each country. This chapter pays attention to the issue of human rights and their links with climate change, before considering the other principles. With a human rights approach, conflicts arise between the right to emit greenhouse gases and the right to benefit from the local environmental amenities. Common ownership does not imply an equal individual access right, and individual equality of emission levels is not a justified goal if we are interested in human well-being (unequal needs). Moreover, the assumption of the atmosphere as a common property of mankind is incompatible with the postulate of the sovereignty of states over their natural resources. Greenhouse gas emissions up to 1990 can be defended as expressing customary rights that should not be forgotten when the future regime is to be built. The conditions of John Locke’s Proviso 1 (leave ‘enough and as good’ in common for others) are not valid through historical time and should be read with an eye on Proviso 2 (there is no injustice if people deprived of access are at least as well-off as they would be if natural resources remained in open access). A universal right to a stable local climate, proposed by some, would be a scientific and moral monstrosity. Ability to pay is ambiguous in terms of its motivation and expression. As for the principle of responsibility, it can only be defended in relation to emissions since 1988. But terrestrial sinks must also be considered as a partial counterpart. Finally, once false solutions are put aside, no criterion is proven to be naturally superior to the others. Ultimate choices about which hierarchy of social values should prevail are needed.

You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.

Elgaronline requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals. Please login through your library system or with your personal username and password on the homepage.

Non-subscribers can freely search the site, view abstracts/ extracts and download selected front matter and introductory chapters for personal use.

Your library may not have purchased all subject areas. If you are authenticated and think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.


Further information

or login to access all content.