Climate Ethics Amidst Climate Injustice

Steve Vanderheiden, University of Colorado at Boulder

With the Paris Agreement in force without the United States - and with the Trump administration's hostility toward climate science and embrace of fossil fuels - the prospects for equitable international cooperation on climate change in the near future look grim. In this talk, US-based political scientist Associate Professor Steve Vanderheiden will consider the urgency of viewing climate justice as entailing responsibilities beyond the nation state, asking: What ethical responsibilities do citizens have now to promote climate justice, in light of what their national governments are and are not doing?

This public talk was held along side:

Imagining a Different Future

Climate Justice Conference

The University of Tasmania with the support of the University of Utrecht Ethics Institute hosted a multidisciplinary conference examining the barriers to responding to climate change, implementing climate justice, and proposing ways forward. Among the keynote speakers were Law Faculty Professors Jan McDonald and Ben Richardson. The Law Faculty's Dr Peter Lawrence co-convened the conference with Jan Linehan. The conference took place in Hobart from 8-9 Feb 2018.

Despite the Paris Agreement, there are real concerns the prevailing neoliberal economic and political model, particularly with the move to more insular, nationalistic, fragile politics, cannot respond effectively to climate change and excludes key considerations such as ethics and justice. Videos and Podcasts from the conference are available on the Knowledge Hub.

 

The case for not valuing climate change monetarily and setting physical targets instead

Jack Pezzey, Australian National University

Jack Pezzey discussed the crucial difference between cost benefit analysis (CBA) and cost effectiveness analysis (CEA) of climate change. CEA is favourable because it sets physical targets and yields carbon prices without guessing the value of climate damage. By contrast, using the DICE CBA model, it is projected that global warming will reach a maximum temperature of four degrees when optimally controlled. These are contested results and there are differing inputs of the value of climate. DICE optimal projections of warming are also incompatible with the UN target of two degrees. These projections, however, are dependent on complex and unpredictable climate and human variables and therefore it is almost impossible to model climate damage. The prescription is to do less CBA and more CEA modelling, while recognizing the latter still faces deep uncertainties.

This talk was held at:

Imagining a Different Future

Climate Justice Conference

The University of Tasmania with the support of the University of Utrecht Ethics Institute hosted a multidisciplinary conference examining the barriers to responding to climate change, implementing climate justice, and proposing ways forward. Among the keynote speakers were Law Faculty Professors Jan McDonald and Ben Richardson. The Law Faculty's Dr Peter Lawrence co-convened the conference with Jan Linehan. The conference took place in Hobart from 8-9 Feb 2018.

Despite the Paris Agreement, there are real concerns the prevailing neoliberal economic and political model, particularly with the move to more insular, nationalistic, fragile politics, cannot respond effectively to climate change and excludes key considerations such as ethics and justice. Videos and Podcasts from the conference are available on the Knowledge Hub.

 

Climate Refugees: Pathways for Justice

Guy Goodwin-Gill, University of New South Wales

Guy Goodwin-Gill addressed Climate Refugees: Pathways for Justice and began by explaining why there is good reason to avoid the term ‘climate refugees.’ ‘Climate refugees’ do not fit within existing international law definitional or procedural arrangements. As a consequence the UN High Commission for Refugees’ mandate, although evolving, has not been extended by the UN General Assembly to those displaced by disaster. After the definitional issue was explained, two substantive risks were raised, firstly the numbers of ‘climate refugees’ and secondly the seductive appeal of the temporary. The value of a longer-term approach to those displaced was noted. An encompassing, rather than individualistic, approach to climate change displacement may be required to [meet these challenges]. The presentation questioned above all whether there is a need for protection for those displaced by climate change, as historically it is the very need for protection that underpins the international legal regime.

This talk was held at:

Imagining a Different Future

Climate Justice Conference

The University of Tasmania with the support of the University of Utrecht Ethics Institute hosted a multidisciplinary conference examining the barriers to responding to climate change, implementing climate justice, and proposing ways forward. Among the keynote speakers were Law Faculty Professors Jan McDonald and Ben Richardson. The Law Faculty's Dr Peter Lawrence co-convened the conference with Jan Linehan. The conference took place in Hobart from 8-9 Feb 2018.

Despite the Paris Agreement, there are real concerns the prevailing neoliberal economic and political model, particularly with the move to more insular, nationalistic, fragile politics, cannot respond effectively to climate change and excludes key considerations such as ethics and justice. Videos and Podcasts from the conference are available on the Knowledge Hub.

 

Divesting From Fossil Fuels: A Useful Strategy for Climate Justice?

Ben Richardson, University of Tasmania

Ben Richardson evaluated the rationales of the global divestment movement, and assessed the criticism levelled at each rationale in turn. Firstly, the legal responsibility of investors to address climate change risks is uncertain, often resting on fiduciary law. Secondly, avoidance of complicity by investors in the negative consequences of their investments can provide a rationale to remove an investment, however questions are often raised about thresholds for knowledge that equate to complicity. The leverage-based responsibility of investors to use their strategic influence links morality to ones’ capacity to effect change. This however is countered by arguments around the greater effectiveness of continuous engagement as a means to change corporate behaviour. Finally, the business-case for divestment is often considered the most powerful and persuasive rationale for the divestment movement, yet fossil fuel investments cannot yet be considered stranded assets. Divestment as a strategy for combatting climate change is paradoxical, as it would be served by better government regulation – yet such regulation would negate the need for divestment, by exerting control over the free market.

This talk was held at:

Imagining a Different Future

Climate Justice Conference

The University of Tasmania with the support of the University of Utrecht Ethics Institute hosted a multidisciplinary conference examining the barriers to responding to climate change, implementing climate justice, and proposing ways forward. Among the keynote speakers were Law Faculty Professors Jan McDonald and Ben Richardson. The Law Faculty's Dr Peter Lawrence co-convened the conference with Jan Linehan. The conference took place in Hobart from 8-9 Feb 2018.

Despite the Paris Agreement, there are real concerns the prevailing neoliberal economic and political model, particularly with the move to more insular, nationalistic, fragile politics, cannot respond effectively to climate change and excludes key considerations such as ethics and justice. Videos and Podcasts from the conference are available on the Knowledge Hub.

 

Fairness in Climate Adaptation Law

Jan McDonald, University of Tasmania

Jan McDonald explored ideas related to fairness in adaptation law, recognizing the challenge of simultaneously operationalizing adaptation law, while also ensuring fairness in adaptation law. Adaptation actions can play a key role in addressing injustices relating to climate change; yet adaptation actions themselves involve making choices and making trade-offs with justice implications. If an over-arching object of adaptation law is fairness, then laws should tackle the issues of who benefits from adaptation, and who pays. The importance of mitigation was also raised, as if mitigation is not stressed in society, adaptation will not be able to cope with climate stresses, and there will be a larger adaptation gap, leading to greater losses and damage locally, nationally and inter-generationally.

This talk was held at:

Imagining a Different Future

Climate Justice Conference

The University of Tasmania with the support of the University of Utrecht Ethics Institute hosted a multidisciplinary conference examining the barriers to responding to climate change, implementing climate justice, and proposing ways forward. Among the keynote speakers were Law Faculty Professors Jan McDonald and Ben Richardson. The Law Faculty's Dr Peter Lawrence co-convened the conference with Jan Linehan. The conference took place in Hobart from 8-9 Feb 2018.

Despite the Paris Agreement, there are real concerns the prevailing neoliberal economic and political model, particularly with the move to more insular, nationalistic, fragile politics, cannot respond effectively to climate change and excludes key considerations such as ethics and justice. Videos and Podcasts from the conference are available on the Knowledge Hub.

 

Fair Shares: A Civil Society Approach to Climate Equity

Sivan Kartha, Stockholm Environment Institute

Sivan Kartha presented a civil society report on fair shares and climate equity, which calculated equitable effort sharing efforts among nations, and the required efforts in terms of mitigation and climate support. This was calculated in light of metrics relating to responsibility (historical emissions), and capability (national income), evaluated in light of various progressivity indicators. These ‘fair shares’ were then evaluated against the pledges or ‘national contributions’ made by countries under the Paris Agreement. Results indicated that some developed countries’ contributions are well below their equitable fair shares, regardless of which progressive model is used. Further, while some developing countries have met their fair shares, more support is required from developed countries to enable these poorer countries to take on still greater mitigation efforts.

This talk was held at:

Imagining a Different Future

Climate Justice Conference

The University of Tasmania with the support of the University of Utrecht Ethics Institute hosted a multidisciplinary conference examining the barriers to responding to climate change, implementing climate justice, and proposing ways forward. Among the keynote speakers were Law Faculty Professors Jan McDonald and Ben Richardson. The Law Faculty's Dr Peter Lawrence co-convened the conference with Jan Linehan. The conference took place in Hobart from 8-9 Feb 2018.

Despite the Paris Agreement, there are real concerns the prevailing neoliberal economic and political model, particularly with the move to more insular, nationalistic, fragile politics, cannot respond effectively to climate change and excludes key considerations such as ethics and justice. Videos and Podcasts from the conference are available on the Knowledge Hub.

 

Equity and Differentiation in the 2015 Paris Agreement: Evolution, Maturity, Prospects

Lavanya Rajamani, Centre for Policy Research, New Delhi

Lavanya Rajamani addressed equity and differentiation in the 2015 Paris Agreement, exploring their evolution, maturity and prospects. Her presentation examined the provisions of the Paris Agreement – how they include, shape or omit the principles of equity and differentiation; and how differentiation is more dynamic and tailored to different issue areas. She noted that these issues remain contested terrain, but there are ways that equity and differentiation can be addressed in post-Paris negotiations. Countries could provide indicators and details of how they assess fairness and ambition in their nationally determined contributions (NDCs), but ultimately this will be nationally determined. Another way to bolster equity and differentiation is by supporting developing countries to implement their NDCs, as they are often conditional upon support. In the context of the global stocktake, group indicators could also be evaluated and linkages between action and support can be made.

This talk was held at:

Imagining a Different Future

Climate Justice Conference

The University of Tasmania with the support of the University of Utrecht Ethics Institute hosted a multidisciplinary conference examining the barriers to responding to climate change, implementing climate justice, and proposing ways forward. Among the keynote speakers were Law Faculty Professors Jan McDonald and Ben Richardson. The Law Faculty's Dr Peter Lawrence co-convened the conference with Jan Linehan. The conference took place in Hobart from 8-9 Feb 2018.

Despite the Paris Agreement, there are real concerns the prevailing neoliberal economic and political model, particularly with the move to more insular, nationalistic, fragile politics, cannot respond effectively to climate change and excludes key considerations such as ethics and justice. Videos and Podcasts from the conference are available on the Knowledge Hub.

 

Changing Oceans & Cryosphere: Assessments by the IPCC

Nathan Bindoff, Antarctic Climate & Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre, Hobart

Nathan Bindoff explored changes to the oceans and cryosphere, drawing on assessments by the IPCC. The climate, across a range of scientific measures, has already changed and this was caused by human influence. These climate changes will impact a number of areas including future surface temperature and sea levels, which as a consequence will impact food security, food nutrition and economic stresses.

This talk was held at:

Imagining a Different Future

Climate Justice Conference

The University of Tasmania with the support of the University of Utrecht Ethics Institute hosted a multidisciplinary conference examining the barriers to responding to climate change, implementing climate justice, and proposing ways forward. Among the keynote speakers were Law Faculty Professors Jan McDonald and Ben Richardson. The Law Faculty's Dr Peter Lawrence co-convened the conference with Jan Linehan. The conference took place in Hobart from 8-9 Feb 2018.

Despite the Paris Agreement, there are real concerns the prevailing neoliberal economic and political model, particularly with the move to more insular, nationalistic, fragile politics, cannot respond effectively to climate change and excludes key considerations such as ethics and justice. Videos and Podcasts from the conference are available on the Knowledge Hub.

 

Climate Justice: Beyond Burden Sharing

Steve Vanderheiden, University of Colorado at Boulder

Steve Vanderheiden addressed climate justice by refocusing and moving beyond his previous work on the evolution of the concept of burden sharing, to include future oriented and speculative ideas of the relationship between justice and democracy. Justice and democracy have primacy at different stages of climate policy, that is, at the level of international decision-making and national implementation, respectively. Justice and democracy, however, rarely meet. There should be a normative, rather than merely empirical reconciliation between these two concepts. Both input (procedural) and output (substantive) justice involves the same set of normative commitments. They are not distinct in application or scope but apply in a symbiotic way, adherence to which may bind democratic institutions by equity commitments, where equity is constituted democratically. There is need for experimental research into equity outcomes from different democratic forms.

This talk was held at:

Imagining a Different Future

Climate Justice Conference

The University of Tasmania with the support of the University of Utrecht Ethics Institute hosted a multidisciplinary conference examining the barriers to responding to climate change, implementing climate justice, and proposing ways forward. Among the keynote speakers were Law Faculty Professors Jan McDonald and Ben Richardson. The Law Faculty's Dr Peter Lawrence co-convened the conference with Jan Linehan. The conference took place in Hobart from 8-9 Feb 2018.

Despite the Paris Agreement, there are real concerns the prevailing neoliberal economic and political model, particularly with the move to more insular, nationalistic, fragile politics, cannot respond effectively to climate change and excludes key considerations such as ethics and justice. Videos and Podcasts from the conference are available on the Knowledge Hub.

 

Democracy and Climate Justice: Never the Twain Shall Meet?

Robyn Eckersley, University of Melbourne

Robyn Eckersley discussed how to win political legitimacy for climate justice in the face of pluralism, and whether there is a fundamental tension between democracy, and achieving the collective and mutually beneficial goal of climate justice. Eckersley argued that we do not have to accept an inevitable clash between democracy and climate justice, but that justice as a normative principle is integral to democracy. Further, there is a need to engage citizens, explore new political connections, and draw linkages between looming climate disaster, and problems that are real and ongoing in democracies today.

This talk was held at:

Imagining a Different Future

Climate Justice Conference

The University of Tasmania with the support of the University of Utrecht Ethics Institute hosted a multidisciplinary conference examining the barriers to responding to climate change, implementing climate justice, and proposing ways forward. Among the keynote speakers were Law Faculty Professors Jan McDonald and Ben Richardson. The Law Faculty's Dr Peter Lawrence co-convened the conference with Jan Linehan. The conference took place in Hobart from 8-9 Feb 2018.

Despite the Paris Agreement, there are real concerns the prevailing neoliberal economic and political model, particularly with the move to more insular, nationalistic, fragile politics, cannot respond effectively to climate change and excludes key considerations such as ethics and justice. Videos and Podcasts from the conference are available on the Knowledge Hub.

 

Historical Justice and the Climate Transition

Jeremy Moss, University of New South Wales

Abstract: Jeremy Moss explored historical justice and the climate transition focusing on approaches that have been put forward in relation to allocation of the remaining carbon budget, such as the ‘fault-based’ principle – referring to responsibility for past emissions. While a number of objections to the use of the fault-based principle have been raised, it is relevant and can be applied. For example, the objection that countries were previously ignorant to the impacts of their emissions is not valid given the considerable emissions produced by countries since 1990 have absolved them of reasonable ignorance. The idea that countries should not be responsible for emissions made before territorial and other political changes is not a persuasive justification for avoiding this approach. While some claim the application of a fault based principle as practically infeasible, it can be validly applied to inform countries of what their goals should be. Fairness for countries undergoing recent industrialisation should also be considered, which could be addressed through consideration of factors such as why emissions are made and the moral responsibility countries have.

This talk was held at:

Imagining a Different Future

Climate Justice Conference

The University of Tasmania with the support of the University of Utrecht Ethics Institute hosted a multidisciplinary conference examining the barriers to responding to climate change, implementing climate justice, and proposing ways forward. Among the keynote speakers were Law Faculty Professors Jan McDonald and Ben Richardson. The Law Faculty's Dr Peter Lawrence co-convened the conference with Jan Linehan. The conference took place in Hobart from 8-9 Feb 2018.

Despite the Paris Agreement, there are real concerns the prevailing neoliberal economic and political model, particularly with the move to more insular, nationalistic, fragile politics, cannot respond effectively to climate change and excludes key considerations such as ethics and justice. Videos and Podcasts from the conference are available on the Knowledge Hub.

 

Climate Change: Against Despair

Catriona McKinnon, University of Reading

Abstract: Catriona McKinnon discussed climate change and despair, noting that we must become ‘prisoners of hope.’ There are reasons for climate change to create emotional responses including despair. These, however, can be differentiated from despair as an attitude or dispositional orientation towards climate change. Two sources of despair towards climate change were discussed: inefficiency of one’s personal emission reductions; and/or one’s own inability to make a difference to worsening climate change through personal emissions reductions. Philosophical reflection shows that despair, as an attitude towards climate change, is not justified. Instead, to facilitate effective individual agency, and to take effective action on climate change, we must become ‘prisoners of hope.’

This talk was held at:

Imagining a Different Future

Climate Justice Conference

The University of Tasmania with the support of the University of Utrecht Ethics Institute hosted a multidisciplinary conference examining the barriers to responding to climate change, implementing climate justice, and proposing ways forward. Among the keynote speakers were Law Faculty Professors Jan McDonald and Ben Richardson. The Law Faculty's Dr Peter Lawrence co-convened the conference with Jan Linehan. The conference took place in Hobart from 8-9 Feb 2018.

Despite the Paris Agreement, there are real concerns the prevailing neoliberal economic and political model, particularly with the move to more insular, nationalistic, fragile politics, cannot respond effectively to climate change and excludes key considerations such as ethics and justice. Videos and Podcasts from the conference are available on the Knowledge Hub.

 

Human Dignity, Imagination and the Framings of Climate Justice

Marcus Düwell, Utrecht University

Marcus Düwell discussed making sense of the topics of human dignity and climate justice from the perspective of philosophical thought. Climate justice is a challenge for human culture. Yet our current normative frameworks, which were a reaction to past threats, may not be fit to deal with the challenges climate change presents today. This situation requires a rethinking of the basis of modern and open societies in a future-oriented direction with a basis in human dignity. By imagining future generations who depend on similar life conditions to ourselves in order to have human dignity, we can create a consistent, intercultural, and compassionate understanding of ourselves, of others and of our outlooks for the future. This imagination of, and prescription for, sustainable action presupposes hope and the possibility of an open future. The results may present challenges to the post-war ideas of democracy and human rights, when the exercise of liberty rights seems responsible for many ecological challenges. Imagination is crucial for the possibility of transcending the individual perspective to find universal and intercultural understandings. Climate justice is therefore a challenge for human culture and climate projects are inherently efforts towards a shared humanity.

This talk was held at:

Imagining a Different Future

Climate Justice Conference

The University of Tasmania with the support of the University of Utrecht Ethics Institute hosted a multidisciplinary conference examining the barriers to responding to climate change, implementing climate justice, and proposing ways forward. Among the keynote speakers were Law Faculty Professors Jan McDonald and Ben Richardson. The Law Faculty's Dr Peter Lawrence co-convened the conference with Jan Linehan. The conference took place in Hobart from 8-9 Feb 2018.

Despite the Paris Agreement, there are real concerns the prevailing neoliberal economic and political model, particularly with the move to more insular, nationalistic, fragile politics, cannot respond effectively to climate change and excludes key considerations such as ethics and justice. Videos and Podcasts from the conference are available on the Knowledge Hub.