ECPR

Install the app

Install this application on your home screen for quick and easy access when you’re on the go.

Just tap Share then “Add to Home Screen”

ECPR

Install the app

Install this application on your home screen for quick and easy access when you’re on the go.

Just tap Share then “Add to Home Screen”

Back to Paper Details

Climate Justice: Individual Duties under Conditions of Partial Compliance

Sabine Hohl
University of Zurich
Sabine Hohl
University of Zurich
Open Panel

Abstract

Let’s assume that, as a matter of climate justice, individuals in societies with a high level of greenhouse gas emissions are morally required to reduce their own emissions to a certain degree. Certainly not everyone will comply with such a duty. In this situation of partial compliance, we are faced with the question whether those who are willing to reduce their emissions as is required of them should, in addition, take the slack of the non-compliers by reducing their emissions even further. There are two standard objections to this: First, a duty to take the slack is said to be overly demanding for the compliers, since it raises the total absolute cost for the compliers to a (possibly) unacceptably high level. Second, a duty to take the slack is argued to be unfair, since it unduly burdens the compliers, who are already doing their fair share. The focus of this second objection is on the burden that compliers bear relative to the non-compliers. Both these objections to slack taking are usually put forward in the context of duties of beneficence. The question I want to tackle is how convincing these objections are with regard to climate justice. Reducing one’s emissions of greenhouse gases is not best understood as a duty of beneficence, but rather as a duty to avoid doing harm to others or as a duty not to violate human rights. As a result, the applicability of the standard objections to slack taking is put into question.