Skip to main content

Assessing common(s) arguments for an equal per capita allocation

Buy Article:

$48.00 plus tax (Refund Policy)


Emissions rights are commodities and many hold that these commodities (or alternatively the revenue from their auction) should be allocated to (adult) individuals on an equal per capita basis. Proponents of this equal per capita allocation (EPCA) often argue for it on the grounds that the atmosphere or greenhouse gas emissions sinks are a ‘commons’. But how can we assess the strength of these ‘commons arguments’ for EPCA? As most of those making such arguments do not have a background in academic philosophy, their arguments are not grounded in the philosophical literature on justice – a literature that seeks to provide a specification and justification of what constitutes a fair distribution of resources within society. This paper therefore seeks to set out clearly the various commons arguments for EPCA and to assess what, if any, support can be found for them within the justice literature. To make the various commons arguments as clear as possible, and to make analysis of these arguments as straightforward as possible, they are set out formally, that is, as premises followed by a conclusion. The conclusion of the analysis is that there is little support within the justice literature for these commons arguments for EPCA.

Keywords: atmosphere; commons; emissions rights; justice; sinks

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, Pariser Building, University of Manchester, PO Box 88, Manchester M60 1PD, Email:

Publication date: June 1, 2011


Access Key

Free Content
Free content
New Content
New content
Open Access Content
Open access content
Subscribed Content
Subscribed content
Free Trial Content
Free trial content
Cookie Policy
Cookie Policy
ingentaconnect website makes use of cookies so as to keep track of data that you have filled in. I am Happy with this Find out more