Globalizing Responsibility for Climate Change [Abstract]

Ethics & International Affairs, Volume 25.1 (Spring 2011)

Ethics & International Affairs

How is the just assignment of climate change mitigation costs related to the fair allocation of burdens for climate change adaptation? In distributing the costs associated with climate change, most scholars have focused exclusively upon mitigation burdens, which reduce ongoing contributions to climate change, primarily through greenhouse gas abatement efforts. Few consider the distribution of adaptation costs, which concern projects that seek to minimize harm from human-induced climate change. This article explores both, grounding each in the justice framework appropriate to each activity, with mitigation efforts based in distributive justice and adaptation activities in corrective justice, and outlines an overarching account of responsibility that! links the two. From such an account, it suggests, a more coherent view of the tradeoffs between mitigation and adaptation is possible, enabling a more integrative policy framework for linking ongoing efforts in one category with required burdens in the other.

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