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Climate Change, Social Justice and Development

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Terry Barker, Şerban Scrieciu and David Taylor discuss the implications of climate change for social justice and the prospects for more sustainable development pathways. They state that the analysis and discussions surrounding the climate change problem, particularly those drawing on the traditional economics literature, have relied on a crude economic utilitarianism that no moral philosopher would endorse. Such arguments have typically ignored the concept of justice itself and wider ethical considerations. The authors argue that climate change is inherently inequitable and inevitably raises ethical issues. Climate change policy should therefore be informed by moral philosophy relating to scientific findings with respect to climate change impacts, rather than just informed by economics in isolation. Climate stabilization policies should be designed by international negotiation to support development and they should not jeopardize the prospects for the well-being of the poor.Development (2008) 51, 317–324. doi:10.1057/dev.2008.33

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: September 1, 2008


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