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Subsistence Emissions and Luxury Emissions

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Abstract

In order to decide whether a comprehensive treaty covering all greenhouse gases is the best next step after UNCED, one needs to distinguish among the four questions about the international justice of such international arrangements: (1) What is a fair allocation of the costs of preventing the global warming that is still avoidable?; (2) What is a fair allocation of the costs of coping with the social consequences of the global warming that will not in fact be avoided?; (3) What background allocation of wealth would allow international bargaining (about issues like 1 and 2) to be a fair process?; and (4) What is a fair allocation of emissions of greenhouse gases (over the long-term and during the transition to the long-term allocation)? In answering each question we must specify from whom any transfers should come and to whom any transfers should go. As the grounds for the answers we usually face a choice between fault-based principles and no-fault principles.
... The relation between energy consumption and fossil fuels poses a risk that energy justice solely concerns mitigation. Surely, principles for establishing what is a fair quota of emissions (Caney, 2005), or what entails luxury emissions and subsistence emissions (Shue, 2014(Shue, [1993), are investigated in climate justice, which includes principles based on historical emissions (such as polluter pays-principle, or beneficiary pays-principle), or current abilities (ability to pay-principle). Yet, we will limit the discussion to the relation between HDI and energy use, interpreted through the lens of CA. ...
... Yet, he leaves it quite open as to where the difference is (Shue 2014(Shue [1993: 66). The CA applied to energy is instructive given that it establishes what energy availability should enable. ...
... Second, those above the threshold may be less well-off than they could be, which would justify increasing their already substantial consumption of energy. This is a variation of the 'expensive tastes' problem (Crisp, 2003) and of 'luxury emissions' (Shue, 2014(Shue, [1993). Given that the relation between energy consumption and HDI has the shape of a diminishing marginal utility, it is likely that this would require substantial increases in energy consumption to increase preference satisfaction. ...
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In this paper, we apply the capabilities approach—with the addition of capability ceilings—to energy justice. We argue that, to ensure energy justice, energy policies and scenarios should consider enabling not only minimal capability thresholds but also maximum capability ceilings. It is permissible, perhaps even morally required, to limit the capabilities of those above the threshold if it is necessary for enabling those below the threshold to reach the level required by justice. We make a distinction between tragic and non-tragic conflicts of capabilities: tragic conflicts are instances when one cannot raise an agent’s capabilities above the threshold that justice requires without pushing someone else below the threshold or restricting someone from reaching the threshold. In contrast, a non-tragic choice is when increasing someone above the threshold required by justice does not entail pushing someone else’s capabilities below the threshold. We utilise this framework to discuss energy justice and emissions of greenhouse gases. Drawing on the relation between points on the human development index and levels of energy consumption, we conclude that non-tragic mitigation policies now are highly preferable to tragic policies later.
... 28 I mean by this that it is absurd to seek to pursue one's favoured issue without at minimum compatibility between it and a great turning toward eco-sanity; because without that turning, one's efforts will before too long be swept away. I suggest in these pages that serious pursuit of that turning will lead us toward a more just society/world, for various reasons, including crucially that the long emergency requires the giving up of 'luxury emissions' (and in due course, to reduce our growing exposure to food insecurity, of luxury food-consumption) much like it required the giving up of much luxury food-consumption in the shared emergency of the Second World War (Shue 1993;Read 2019b). One could go further, and credibly argue that portents of social breakdown that we see -a loss of hope for the social contract, a rise in near-despair -have in fact been co-responsible for making plausible climate breakdown, and that these portents are due in significant part to the abandonment of 'social democracy' . ...
... This is due to more specific, individual level consideration beyond the control of the individual, such as prevailing energy mix structures and their access to low-carbon alternatives. Fulfilling BENs through the increase in energy services use, the composition of which is beyond the control or responsibility of the individual, can be considered to be morally essentially and excusable, even if these actions harm future generations (Shue, 1993). However, there is an important distinction made by the author here. ...
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A summary and critical review of Okushima (2021). Energy poor need more energy, but do they need more carbon? Evaluation of people’s basic carbon needs. Ecological Economics 187.
... This could still burden the more affluent less than the less affluent. For a discussion of climate change mitigation and basic needs seeHyams 2009, 243-244 andShue 1993. ...
Thesis
Die Bepreisung von Treibhausgasemissionen ist eine der am intensivsten diskutierten Strategien zur Mitigation des menschengemachten Klimawandels. Eine CO2-Steuer oder ein Emissionshandel nach dem „Cap and Trade“-Prinzip sind die prominentesten Vorschläge und stehen auch im Zentrum dieser Dissertation. Ziel dieser Arbeit ist es, näher zu beleuchten, was aus moralischer Sicht für und gegen die Bepreisung von Treibhausgasen spricht. Zu diesem Zweck werden in drei Kapiteln Argumente für die Bepreisung von Treibhausgasen untersucht und in drei weiteren Kapiteln Argumente gegen die Bepreisung von Treibhausgasen diskutiert. Hierbei baue ich auf der existierenden philosophischen Literatur zum Thema auf; bringe jedoch auch neue Argumente in die Debatte ein. Ich komme zu einem gemischten Fazit. Manche Argumente für die Bepreisung von Treibhausgasemissionen halten einer genaueren philosophischen Betrachtung nicht stand (Effizienz, Ausmaß der Freiheitseinschränkungen), aber auch nicht alle Argumente gegen die Bepreisung überzeugen (Kommodifizierung). Auf der anderen Seite ist festzuhalten, dass ein Argument für die Bepreisung schlüssig scheint (Effektivität) und zwei kritische Argumente zumindest in Teilen überzeugen (mangelnde Fairness, Auswirkung auf intrinsische Motivation). Die Dissertation soll wichtige Erkenntnisse für das aus moralischer Sicht optimale Design eines Preises auf Treibhausgasemissionen liefern. Eine endgültige Antwort auf die Frage, ob wir den Weg der Bepreisung von Treibhausgasemissionen relevanten Alternativen vorziehen sollten, kann nur nach einer interdisziplinären Debatte gegeben werden. Zu dieser soll die vorliegende Dissertation ein Beitrag sein.
... Again, readers who sympathize with calls for wealthy societies to curb economic growth to protect the environment may object to the idea that poorer nations should do so. Many of their citizens need more wealth to secure basic comforts, not to pile up luxuries (Shue, 1993). It seems unfair to ask them to sacrifice: for example, to forego access to electricity and the comforts that come with it (Caney, 2018); or to burn less coal and pay higher energy prices to help deal with climate disruption, a problem they haven't caused (Hedberg, 2020). ...
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Conservation biologists agree that humanity is on the verge of causing a mass extinction and that its primary driver is our immense and rapidly expanding global economy. We are replacing Earth’s ten million wild species with more of ourselves, our domesticated species, our economic support systems, and our trash. In the process, we are creating a duller, tamer, and more dangerous world. The moral case for reducing excessive human impacts on the biosphere is strong on both anthropocentric and biocentric ethical grounds. The sine qua non for doing so is reducing human numbers and the size of our economies, while increasing the global acreage set aside in protected areas. We should take these steps as part of comprehensive efforts to create just and sustainable societies in which both humans and other species can flourish.
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The Framework Convention on Climate Change, opened for signature at the 1992 United Nations Conference on the Environment and Development (UNCED), formally begins a process for countries jointly to limit the long-term risk of climate change. The near-term effectiveness of the Framework Convention will be limited, due to ambiguities in language, uncertainties regarding the magnitude and location of sources and sinks, the difference between biological and industrial emissions, uncertainty about the relative importance of the various greenhouse gases and selection of a weighting system, and concerns about equity. Action in the near term will likely cover either CO2 alone or just those gases resulting from the use of fossil fuels in the industrialized world. Based on this limitation, it is projected that by 2036 the earth will be committed to a 2.2oC temperature increase. The effectiveness of the Convention need not be as limited as this analysis suggests; it is an evolving document, tailored to be flexible and to respond to the most recent scientific knowledge.
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