HomeΦιλοσοφια: International Journal of Philosophyvol. 21 no. 1 (2020)

GLOBAL WARMING, CLIMATE CHANGE AND JUSTICE

Edwin Etieyibo

Discipline: Environmental Ethics

 

Abstract:

As an international instrument on climate change, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change embraces a general obligation to protect the climate system, from which some specific obligations for developed countries fall off from. In this paper, I discuss three of such obligations. Firstly, the obligation to address the causes of climate change and to mitigate its adverse effects, next, the obligation to assist developing countries that are vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change in meeting the costs of adaptation to those adverse effects and finally, the obligation to support other developing countries by providing them with appropriate resources in order for them to mitigate and adapt to the adverse effects of climate change. I show that these obligations are framed in the treaty as obligations of beneficence and suggest that the first two can be expressed as obligations of justice. I argue for the soundness of expressing the obligations this way and that doing so may have the added virtue of addressing both the egoistic and performance problems since it introduces some incentive for taking the obligations seriously and the possibility for their realization.