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Global Partnership, Climate Change and Complex Equality

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The prospect of climate change due to human activities has put the question of inter- and intragenerational justice or equity in matters of common concern on the global agenda. This article will focus on the question of intragenerational justice in relation to these issues. This involves three basic questions. Firstly, the question of which distributive criteria may be relevant in the distribution of the goods and bads related to the increasing greenhouse effect. A series of criteria are discussed in relation to different understandings of the problem. The second question is which kind of relationship the global partnership is or should be considered to be in issues of common concern. It is argued that various understandings of the global partnership can be expected to result in the use of different criteria. This diversity leads us to the third question concerning the possibility of identifying an overall social ideal which can be used in cases where several different criteria may be useful. I shall discuss one such ideal in particular, namely the ideal of complex equality. In the concluding remarks it is argued that a distribution of emission quotas to countries in accordance with population size is a reasonable starting point for an equitable solution, although it involves various problems of application.

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Keywords: climate change; common concerns; complex equality; distributive criteria; equity; global partnership; greenhouse effect; justice; social ideals

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 August 2001

More about this publication?
  • Environmental Values is an international peer-reviewed journal that brings together contributions from philosophy, economics, politics, sociology, geography, anthropology, ecology and other disciplines, which relate to the present and future environment of human beings and other species. In doing so we aim to clarify the relationship between practical policy issues and more fundamental underlying principles or assumptions.

    Environmental Values has a Journal Impact Factor (2016) of 1.279.
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