Special Issue "Just Distribution of Responsibility for Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation on a Sub-National Level"

A special issue of Philosophies (ISSN 2409-9287).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 April 2021).

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Erik Persson
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Philosophy, Lund University, 221 00 Lund, Sweden
Interests: applied ethics
Dr. Åsa Knaggård
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Political Science, Lund University, 221 00 Lund, Sweden
Interests: policy making; uncertainty and risk
Dr. Kerstin Eriksson
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Research Institutes of Sweden (RISE), 417 56 Gothenburg, Sweden
Interests: climate adaptation; crisis management

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

A large part of climate change ethics is focused on the distribution of responsibilities between countries. Considerably less attention has been given to the corresponding questions on the sub-national level.

The aim of this Special Issue is to somewhat mitigate this by focusing on the distribution of responsibilities for climate change mitigation and adaption between individuals, corporations, NGOs, municipalities, counties, and other sub-national levels.

Papers that will be considered for publication may deal with questions such as:

Do wealthy or lightly affected municipalities have a moral responsibility to help poorer or more heavily affected municipalities to adapt to a changing climate?

Are individuals with a large carbon footprint more morally responsible for climate change than individuals with a smaller carbon footprint even though neither footprint is in itself enough to affect the climate?

How can national mitigation burdens be distributed in a just way within countries, among regions, municipalities, or emitters?

Should a municipality or a county have the right to deny indiviudals or companies permission to build in areas that are expected to see a high sea level rise or should that decision be the responsibility of the builder?

Should insurance companies have the right to deny compensation to individuals or legal entities that experience climate-change-related loss if they ignore advice from science?

Who has the main responsibility to make sure buyers of property in areas that are projected to be severly affected by climate change are informed of this fact? The seller, the buyer, the municipality, the scientific community or someone else?

Dr. Erik Persson
Dr. Åsa Knaggård
Dr. Kerstin Eriksson
Guest Editors

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Keywords

  • responsibility
  • climate ethics
  • climate change
  • climate adaptation
  • climate mitigation
  • climate justice
  • distribution of responsibility

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Article
A Fair Distribution of Responsibility for Climate Adaptation-Translating Principles of Distribution from an International to a Local Context
Philosophies 2021, 6(3), 68; https://doi.org/10.3390/philosophies6030068 - 10 Aug 2021
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Abstract
Distribution of responsibility is one of the main focus areas in discussions about climate change ethics. Most of these discussions deal with the distribution of responsibility for climate change mitigation at the international level. The aim of this paper is to investigate if [...] Read more.
Distribution of responsibility is one of the main focus areas in discussions about climate change ethics. Most of these discussions deal with the distribution of responsibility for climate change mitigation at the international level. The aim of this paper is to investigate if and how these principles can be used to inform the search for a fair distribution of responsibility for climate change adaptation on the local level. We found that the most influential distribution principles on the international level were in turn built on one or more of seven basic principles: (P1) equal shares, (P2) desert, (P3) beneficiary pays, (P4) ability, (P5) self-help, (P6) limited responsibility for the worst off, and (P7) status quo preservation. It was found that all the basic principles, but P1, P3, and P7, are to some extent translatable to local climate adaptation. Two major problems hamper their usefulness on the local level: (1) several categories of agents need to take on responsibility; and (2) emissions do not work as a base for all principles. P4, P5, and P6 are applicable to local adaptation without changes. P4 is of particular importance as it seems to solve the first problem. P2 is applicable only if the second problem is solved, which can be achieved by using risk of harm instead of emissions as the basis for desert. Full article
Article
Responsibilities for Climate Damage within Borders: Reconciling Liability with Shared Responsibility
Philosophies 2021, 6(3), 65; https://doi.org/10.3390/philosophies6030065 - 03 Aug 2021
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Abstract
The literature on climate justice has primarily focused on distributing the benefits and burdens of climate change, particularly those related to the costs of mitigation and adaptation. As such, less attention has been paid to emerging political issues surrounding loss and damage caused [...] Read more.
The literature on climate justice has primarily focused on distributing the benefits and burdens of climate change, particularly those related to the costs of mitigation and adaptation. As such, less attention has been paid to emerging political issues surrounding loss and damage caused by the failure of mitigation and adaptation. This paper aims to fill this gap through discussions on reparative justice, which is correlated with the concept of liability. Since the concept of liability has controversial implications in climate politics and theory, investigating reparative justice for climate damage must clarify how the concept of liability can reconcile with the normative theory of political responsibility. This paper begins with the question of how the distributive justice scheme fails to discuss climate damage, by arguing that the scheme does not necessarily recognise a prior injustice and misses the need for reparation for the extensive scope of climate loss and damage. Then, it shows that the concept of reparation, which differs from compensation, holds more promise in giving the proper due for climate loss and damage. Finally, after comparing the liability model and the shared responsibility model proposed by Iris Young, this paper concludes by proposing that the hybrid model of liability and shared responsibility can be used to avoid limitations of the concept of liability. Full article
Article
Distribution of Responsibility for Climate Change within the Milieu
Philosophies 2021, 6(3), 62; https://doi.org/10.3390/philosophies6030062 - 28 Jul 2021
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Abstract
This article approaches the challenges of the distribution of responsibility for climate change on a local level using the framework of the milieu. It suggests that the framework of the milieu, inspired by Japanese and cross-cultural environmental philosophy, provides pathways to address the [...] Read more.
This article approaches the challenges of the distribution of responsibility for climate change on a local level using the framework of the milieu. It suggests that the framework of the milieu, inspired by Japanese and cross-cultural environmental philosophy, provides pathways to address the four challenges of climate change (global dispersion, fragmentation of agency, institutional inadequacy, temporal delay). The framework of the milieu clarifies the interrelations between the individual, the community, and the local milieu and is open to a conservative view of human communities and an inclusive view of multispecies communities. On this basis, an account of individual responsibility that is anchored in the local milieu and includes a responsibility to collaborate across milieus is developed. It consists of a forward-looking responsibility that balances a degree of contributory responsibility for one’s imprints on the milieu with a degree of capacity-responsibility that varies regarding the individual’s knowledge and powers, and the acceptability of practices within the local milieu. Full article
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Article
Professional Virtues for a Responsible Adaptation to Sea Level Rise
Philosophies 2021, 6(2), 37; https://doi.org/10.3390/philosophies6020037 - 06 May 2021
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Abstract
In the field of responsibility and climate change, much attention has been paid to actions and what we need to do in order to take responsibility. This paper shifts the perspective from what we should do to how we should be in order [...] Read more.
In the field of responsibility and climate change, much attention has been paid to actions and what we need to do in order to take responsibility. This paper shifts the perspective from what we should do to how we should be in order to be responsible. Looking at the case of local adaptation to sea level rise, the question of what characterizes a responsible planner is addressed. Departing from the idea of professional virtues, aspirational characteristics are extrapolated from three codes of ethics for planners. The identified virtues are discussed in relation to the central challenges of adaptation to sea level rise, giving an indication of which virtues are most important in this given context. When placing the responsible planner in an institutional context, it is evident that while a virtue perspective should not replace a system analysis, it provides a valuable complement to the traditional action-focused discourse on responsible adaptation. Full article

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Opinion
Reproductive Timing and Climate Change
Philosophies 2021, 6(2), 47; https://doi.org/10.3390/philosophies6020047 - 07 Jun 2021
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Abstract
It has been argued that the most impactful choice an individual could make, with respect to mitigating greenhouse gas emissions, is to have fewer children. This paper brings up a related aspect of individuals’ reproductive choices that has been neglected in the climate [...] Read more.
It has been argued that the most impactful choice an individual could make, with respect to mitigating greenhouse gas emissions, is to have fewer children. This paper brings up a related aspect of individuals’ reproductive choices that has been neglected in the climate ethics literature: the timing aspect. It is argued that, from a climate change perspective, it does not matter only how many children people bring into existence, but also when they are brought into existence. The reason is that the age at which parents choose to procreate affects the number of people that will live simultaneously on the planet, which is in turn relevant for climate change. This provides individuals another means by which they can decrease their emissions. Full article
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