Fair Shares and Equal Claims

While each of the proceeding accounts of how to distribute the burdens of responding to climate change is intuitively plausible, I want to suggest that what I will call the 'fair shares' approach is better suited to dealing with the problem of historical emissions. The fair shares approach discussed below assumes that the main duty generating reason that people have to pay for climate change is that they can afford to pay for the costs of climate change and should do so in pursuit of the goal...

The Tyranny of Vulnerability

Global climate change and its associated consequences are symptoms of a much larger phenomenon specifically, rapid globalisation and the rise of the 'knowledge economy'.13 The exponential growth in population over the past 150 years has fuelled profound changes in land use and the consumption of natural resources and capital generally.14 The magnitude of such changes in the Earth system have been so profound, that some have argued that we are now living in a new geologic era, the...

Notes

1 Shue, 'Subsistence Emissions and Luxury Emissions', p. 397. 2 Article 11 of the Kyoto Protocol allows Annex B parties (the developed countries) to sell spare emission allowances to other Annex B parties which are unable to meet their target. Article 6 allows Annex B parties to earn emission reduction units (ERUs) by investing in an emissions reduction project in another Annex B party, such as more efficient coal plants (Joint Implementation). Article 12 establishes the Clean Development...

Role of Primary Health Care

To understand how primary health care can best respond to climate change, it is necessary to understand how primary health care has evolved, how it has been shaped by momentous global social transformations, how it varies between countries, and the fundamental values that underpin it. In one sense, climate change is just the latest in a long line of challenges that primary care services have faced, and indeed a great strength of primary care is its adaptability and flexibility. Some potential...

Defining Equitable Distribution

During the 2000 US presidential election, when the candidates were asked in a televised debate what they would do about global warming, George W. Bush said I'll tell you one thing I'm not going to do is I'm not going to let the United States carry the burden for cleaning up the world's air, like the Kyoto treaty would have done. China and India were exempted from that treaty. I think we need to be more even-handed. As president, Bush frequently repeated this line of reasoning. Indeed, the issue...

Primary Health Care Responses to Climate Change

Grant Andrew Blashki, Helen Louise Berry and Michael Richard Kidd In 2008, two anniversaries coincided and highlighted two major global public health challenges for this century the 60th World Health Day, focused on 'protecting health from climate change', and the 30th anniversary of the Alma Ata declaration, which emphasised the importance of primary health care.1 Climate change is a serious global public health problem that, amongst other things, threatens attainment of the United Nations...

Climate Justice Vulnerability and Adaptation

This chapter is primarily concerned with climate change as an issue of distributive justice. The interplay of the causes of climate change on the one hand, and the determinants of vulnerability to that change on the other, raises issues of distributive justice.1 For example, it is well understood that because emissions of greenhouse gases are closely correlated to income, it is typically the case that the wealthiest groups are responsible for the bulk of past and present emissions, implying in...

Peter Singer

For most of human existence, people living only short distances apart might as well have been living in separate worlds. A river, a mountain range, a stretch of forest or desert these were enough to cut people off from each other. As a result, human beings developed systems of ethics to deal with problems within our community, rather than with the impact of our actions on those far away. Responsibilities and harms were generally clear and well defined. We took the atmosphere and the oceans for...

Securing Equitable Outcomes through Policy

In the previous section, it's argued that the danger that human and ecological systems face with respect to climate change is not so much tied up in the climate system itself, but in other social and economic processes that contribute to vulnerability, not the least of which is human aspirations for wealth and the security of livelihoods. This suggests that the criteria we select for evaluating possible climate policies should reflect such processes. In the book Climate Code Red,19 a number of...

Competitive Partial Equilibrium Model

Consider by way of illustration the example of fossil fuel fired electricity or transport. Under BAU, producers consider the private costs of fuel and other materials, labour and capital, but not the external costs of pollution, including greenhouse gas emissions. Consumers consider the market price of electricity or transport costs, but again not the external costs of pollution. But the flow of greenhouse gases from each and every country adds to the global stock of these gases. In time, a...

Ross Garnaut

I congratulate the Social Justice Initiative for creating this collection which will help fill out what has been an underdeveloped area of Australian thinking about the climate change issue. I took about the same interest in climate change as the average literate citizen until mid-2007 when the Premiers and the then Leader of the Opposition asked me to conduct a review of the impact of climate change on Australia and of policies for Australia. Some of the old wisdom of economic policy analysis...

Responding to the Carbon Debt

Australia has the highest per capita greenhouse gas GHG emission rates on the planet, at about twenty seven tonnes per person carbon dioxide-equivalent per annum this is even higher than emissions per person in the United States roughly twenty four tonnes and more than double the per capita average for industrialised countries. Our energy intensive economy and lifestyle is typical of the developed world, which is responsible for over 80 per cent of all GHG emissions being produced at present....

Carbon Trading The Moral Objections

While most environmentalists are now resigned to carbon trading schemes and many are enthusiastic supporters it was not so long ago that some regarded such schemes with deep suspicion.5 The standard defence of cap-and-trade schemes over carbon taxes is that they enable progressive reductions over time in the total quantity of carbon emissions in a given jurisdiction which cannot be guaranteed by a tax while also conferring flexibility on the part of emitters to find their own least-cost...

Climate Change and Intergenerational Equity

Human activity over the course of the 20th and early 21st centuries has led to a steady increase in atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, from a preindustrial concentration of 280 parts per million ppm to a current concentration of 380 ppm. This change in the atmosphere has generated changes to the earth's climate that are already evident and will continue for decades, and perhaps centuries into the future. Processes taking place over periods of a century or...

Bibliography

Allen, Myles R. and Richard Lord, 'The Blame Game Who Will Pay for the Damaging Consequences of Climate Change ', Nature, vol. 452, 2004, pp. 551-2. Barnett, Tim P, David W. Pierce, G. Hidalgo Hugo, Celine Bonfils, Benjamin D. Santer, Tapash Das, Govindasamy Bala, Andrew W Wood, Toru Nozawa, Arthur A. Mirin, Daniel R. Cayan and Michael D. Dettinger, 'Human-induced Changes in the Hydrology of the Western United States', Science, vol. 319, 2008, pp. 1080-3. Enting, I. G. and R. M. Law,...

Series Editor Dr Jeremy Moss

The Social Justice SJS , issued by MUP in collaboration with Melbourne University's Social Justice Initiative, aims to contribute to public and scholarly debate by providing critical insights into contemporary issues concerning social justice. The series also aims to highlight the value of interdisciplinary approaches to problems of social justice. I MELBOURNE UNIVERSITY PRESS An imprint of Melbourne University Publishing Limited 187 Grattan Street, Carlton, Victoria 3053, Australia Text...

Health Impacts of Climate Change

Against this background, in 2008 the World Health Organization WHO chose the theme 'protecting health from climate change' for World Health Day.11 This involved public talks, media releases and national policy reports launched around the world by a variety of organisations. Dr Margaret Chan, Director of the WHO, stated that Climate change is one of the greatest challenges of our time. Climate change will affect, in profoundly adverse ways, some of the most fundamental determinants of health...

International Carbon Trading

The fairness of any carbon trading system depends, in part, on the fairness of the initial allocation of allowances. To the extent that Annex I countries seek to reach their Kyoto targets solely or primarily through a national trading system, linked with the Kyoto flexibility mechanisms, then the question of the justice of the initial target allocation arises.22 While the UNFCCC's burden sharing principles of equity and CBDR underpinned the bifurcated architecture of the Kyoto Protocol which...

The Political Economy of Vulnerability and Adaptation in Niue

Niue is small island in the South Pacific located 480 kilometres east of Tonga, about a four hour flight from Auckland. The island has a land area of 259 square kilometres. It may be the only country in the world that is a net sink of greenhouse gases because forest regrowth appears to be sequestering more carbon than is being emitted from human activities.11 As a result of climate change, air temperature in Niue is expected to increase by between 0.7 to 1.5 degrees C by the year 2050.12 Only...