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Moderate Emissions Grandfathering

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Emissions grandfathering holds that a history of emissions strengthens an agent's claim for future emission entitlements. Though grandfathering appears to have been influential in actual emission control frameworks, it is rarely taken seriously by philosophers. This article presents an argument for thinking this an oversight. The core of the argument is that members of countries with higher historical emissions are typically burdened with higher costs when transitioning to a given lower level of emissions. According to several appealing views in political philosophy (utilitarianism, egalitarianism, prioritarianism and sufficientarianism) they are therefore entitled to greater resources, including emission entitlements, than those in similar positions but with lower emissions. This grandfathering may play an especially important role in allocating emission entitlements among rich countries.
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Keywords: climate justice; egalitarianism; emission rights; grandfathering; prioritarianism; sufficientarianism; utilitarianism

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2014-10-01

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  • 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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