Bioethics - Purdue Lectures in Ethics, Policy, and Science

Dr. Breena Holland: Undoing Climate Injustice: A Capabilities Approach to Emissions Drawdown

September 20 @ 4:00 PM - 5:30 PM - BRNG 2290

Climate change raises a number of challenging questions about the distribution of greenhouse gas emissions reductions. Who should bear the burden of emissions reductions within a given generation? How should emissions reductions be allocated across different generations? This talk presents a ‘capabilities approach to climate justice’ that deals specifically with the question of how to allocate the burden of greenhouse gas emissions reductions across these dimensions of space and time. Capabilities refer to conditions and states of human enablement. They are opportunities for doing and achieving the various things that make up a flourishing human life. Using ‘capability thresholds’ defined in part by conditions of ecological resilience on which humans depend, and ‘capability ceilings’ defined in terms of harms to others that play out through large-scale ecological processes, the talk proposes that climate justice in any given generation requires putting limits on what people are able to do with the money they have. Building on this approach to a just allocation of greenhouse emissions reduction within a given generation, the talk will then consider how the relationship between human capability thresholds and ceilings can be used to distribute the burden of emissions reductions across generations.

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