Climate Change and Non-Ideal Justice

a project within the climate change workstream of the Human Rights for Future Generations Programme

The realities of policy-making in the area of climate change are at a long distance from much philosophical work on climate ethics. At the same time, there has lately been a strong interest in so-called non-ideal theories of justice, i.e. theories of justice that take seriously that individuals and policies do not conform to the highest ethical standards or not even to minimalist theories of justice that exclusively focus on the protection of human rights. It is our goal to make philosophical reflection on just action on climate change bear on the actual state of affairs that we are currently in.

The work within this theme leads to a number of papers on duties under partial compliance, on feasibility constraints, and on choosing second-best climate policies when motivation is limited. It will also lead to an edited volume on the topic. In January 2014, a workshop was held in Oxford with the contributors to the volume presenting their papers. The workshop included a public event on current priorities in climate policy with Andrew Light, Senior Adviser to the Special Envoy on Climate Change in the US Department of State and Director of the Institute for Philosophy and Public Policy, George Mason University, and Jake Werksman, Principal Advisor in DG Climate Action of the European Commission.