Economics Dictionary of Arguments

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Norgaard I 326
Climate Costs/Shue/Singer: (…) there is a near consensus among the philosophers who have written on the topic that considerations of justice do in fact justify the obligation of rich and high‐emitting countries to reduce their emissions, pay for emissions reductions in poor countries, and aid poor countries in adapting to climate change. Both Henry Shue (1993(1), 1995(2)) and Peter Singer (2002)(3) (…) arguing that on all plausible moral accounts, one reaches this general interpretation of the obligations of the wealthy and the rights of the poor. The few scholarly efforts to rebut these arguments—not from philosophers—rely on a variety of counter‐strategies, arguing for example that if the rich have any obligations to the poor, preventing climate change is a very inefficient way to fulfill them (e.g. Beckerman and Pasek 2005(4); Lomborg 2006(5)) (…).
Norgaard I 331
A country‐based assessment can hardly lead to a conclusion other than that the rich countries still need to ‘go first,’ as they pledged in the UNFCCC (Brown et al. 2006)(6).
Norgaard I 326
Climate Costs/Nations/Individuals/Shue: (…) nation‐to‐nation obligations unjustly permit the poor in the North to have obligations to the non‐poor in the South (Posner and Sunstein 2008)(7).
Norgaard I 327
Some (Shue 1993(1); Neumayer 2000(8)) have defended broad ‘historical accountability’, by which nations as a whole have obligations proportional to their historical emissions of greenhouse gases. Others (Caney 2009(9); Baer et al. 2010(10); Harris 2010(11)) have argued that such collective, historical accounts are problematic (especially for emissions prior to the recognition of the risks of global warming) and that obligations should also or instead be International Justice based on ability to pay. These ‘ability to pay’ arguments also focus on individuals rather than countries, which is consistent with the fundamental principles of a cosmopolitan approach. >Cosmopolitanism.



1. Shue, H. 1993. Subsistence emissions and luxury emissions. Law and Policy 15: 39–59.
2. Shue; H. 1995. Ethics, the environment and the changing international order. International Affairs 71: 453–61.
3. Singer, P. 2002. One World: The Ethics of Globalization. New Haven: Yale University Press.
4. Beckermann, W., and J. Pasek. 2005. Justice, posterity, and the environment. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
5. Lomborg, B. (ed.) 2006. How to Spend $50 Billion to Make the World a Better Place. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
6. Brown, D. et al. 2006. White Paper on the Ethical Dimensions of Climate Change. Available at (http://www.psu.edu/dept/rockethics/climate/whitepaper/edcc‐whitepaper.pdf) (Link not available as of 15/04/19)
7. Posner, E. A., and Sunstein, C. R. 2008. Climate change justice. Georgetown Law Journal 96: 1565–612.
8. Neumayer, E. 2000. In defence of historical accountability for greenhouse gas emissions. Ecological Economics 33: 185–92.
9. Caney, S. 2009. Human rights, responsibilities and climate change. In C. R. Beitz and R. E. Goodin (eds.), Global Basic Rights. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
10. Bear, P. et al. 2010. Greenhouse development rights: A framework for climate protection that is ‘more fair’ than equal per capita emissions rights. Pp. 215–30 in S. M. Gardiner, S. Caney, D. Jamieson, and H. Shue (eds.), Climate Ethics: Essential Readings. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
11. Harris, P. G. 2010. World Ethics and Climate Change: From International to Global Justice. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.



Baer, Paul: “International Justice”, In: John S. Dryzek, Richard B. Norgaard, David Schlosberg (eds.) (2011): The Oxford Handbook of Climate Change and Society. Oxford: Oxford University Press.


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Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution.
The note [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.

SingerP I
Peter Singer
Practical Ethics (Third Edition) Cambridge 2011

SingerP II
P. Singer
The Most Good You Can Do: How Effective Altruism is Changing Ideas About Living Ethically. New Haven 2015

Norgaard I
Richard Norgaard
John S. Dryzek
The Oxford Handbook of Climate Change and Society Oxford 2011


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