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Difference-Making and Individuals' Climate-Related Obligations

In Clare Hayward & Dominic Roser (eds.), Climate Justice in a Non-Ideal World. pp. 64-82 (2016)

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  1. Climate Matters Pro Tanto, Does It Matter All-Things-Considered?Holly Lawford-Smith - 2016 - Midwest Studies in Philosophy 40 (1):129-142.
    In Climate Matters (2012), John Broome argues that individuals have private duties to offset all emissions for which they are causally responsible, grounded in the general moral injunction against doing harm. Emissions do harm, therefore they must be neutralized. I argue that individuals' private duties to offset emissions cannot be grounded in a duty to do no harm, because there can be no such general duty. It is virtually impossible in our current social context―for those in developed countries at least―to (...)
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  • Environmental Individual Responsibility for Accumulated Consequences.Laÿna Droz - 2020 - Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 33 (1):111-125.
    Climate change and many environmental problems are caused by the accumulated effects of repeated actions by multiple individuals. Instead of relying on collective responsibility, I argue for a non-atomistic individual responsibility towards such environmental problems, encompassing omissions, ways of life, and consequences mediated by other agents. I suggest that the degree of causal responsibility of the agent must be balanced with the degree of capacity-responsibility determined by the availability of doable alternatives. Then, the more an agent has powers as a (...)
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  • Individuals’ Contributions to Harmful Climate Change: The Fair Share Argument Restated.Christian Baatz & Lieske Voget-Kleschin - 2019 - Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 32 (4):569-590.
    In the climate ethics debate, scholars largely agree that individuals should promote institutions that ensure the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. This paper aims to establish that there are individual duties beyond compliance with and promotion of institutions. Duties of individuals to reduce their emissions are often objected to by arguing that an individual’s emissions do not make a morally relevant difference. We challenge this argument from inconsequentialism in two ways. We first show why the argument also seems to undermine (...)
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  • Introduction to the Special Issue on Individual Environmental Responsibility.Lieske Voget-Kleschin, Christian Baatz & Laura Garcia-Portela - 2019 - Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 32 (4):493-504.
    Human beings are the cause of many current environmental problems. This poses the question of how to respond to these problems at the national and international level. However, many people ask themselves whether they should personally contribute to solving these problems and how they could do so. This is the focus of this Special Issue on Individual Environmental Responsibility. The introduction proposes a way to structure this complex debate by distinguishing three broad clusters of arguments. The first cluster tackles the (...)
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  • On Individual and Shared Obligations: In Defense of the Activist’s Perspective.Gunnar Björnsson - forthcoming - In Mark Budolfson, Tristram McPherson & David Plunkett (eds.), Philosophy and Climate Change. Oxford University Press.
    We naturally attribute obligations to groups, and take such obligations to have consequences for the obligations of group members. The threat posed by anthropogenic climate change provides an urgent case. It seems that we, together, have an obligation to prevent climate catastrophe, and that we, as individuals, have an obligation to contribute. However, understood strictly, attributions of obligations to groups might seem illegitimate. On the one hand, the groups in question—the people alive today, say—are rarely fully-fledged moral agents, making it (...)
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  • Benefiting From Failures to Address Climate Change.Holly Lawford-Smith - 2014 - Journal of Applied Philosophy 31 (4):392-404.
    The politics of climate change is marked by the fact that countries are dragging their heels in doing what they ought to do; namely, creating a binding global treaty, and fulfilling the duties assigned to each of them under it. Many different agents are culpable in this failure. But we can imagine a stylised version of the climate change case, in which no agents are culpable: if the bad effects of climate change were triggered only by crossing a particular threshold, (...)
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  • What 'We'?Holly Lawford-Smith - 2015 - Journal of Social Ontology 1 (2):225-250.
    The objective of this paper is to explain why certain authors - both popular and academic - are making a mistake when they attribute obligations to uncoordinated groups of persons, and to argue that it is particularly unhelpful to make this mistake given the prevalence of individuals faced with the difficult question of what morality requires of them in a situation in which there's a good they can bring about together with others, but not alone. I'll defend two alternatives to (...)
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  • No Free Lunch: The Significance of Tiny Contributions.Zach Barnett - 2018 - Analysis 78 (1):3-13.
    There is a well-known moral quandary concerning how to account for the rightness or wrongness of acts that clearly contribute to some morally significant outcome – but which each seem too small, individually, to make any meaningful difference. One consequentialist-friendly response to this problem is to deny that there could ever be a case of this type. This paper pursues this general strategy, but in an unusual way. Existing arguments for the consequentialist-friendly position are sorites-style arguments. Such arguments imagine varying (...)
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  • Are ‘the Affluent’ Responsible for Global Poverty?Holly Lawford-Smith - 2019 - Ethics and Global Politics 12 (1):61-67.
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  • Individual Contributions to Collective Harm: How Important is Causation?Anne G. Polkamp - 2019 - Ethics and Global Politics 12 (1):52-60.
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  • What’s Wrong with Joyguzzling?Ewan Kingston & Walter Sinnott-Armstrong - 2018 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 21 (1):169-186.
    Our thesis is that there is no moral requirement to refrain from emitting reasonable amounts of greenhouse gases solely in order to enjoy oneself. Joyriding in a gas guzzler provides our paradigm example. We first distinguish this claim that there is no moral requirement to refrain from joyguzzling from other more radical claims. We then review several different proposed objections to our view. These include: the claim that joyguzzling exemplifies a vice, causes or contributes to harm, has negative expected value, (...)
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  • Does Purchasing Make Consumers Complicit in Global Labour Injustice?Holly Lawford-Smith - 2018 - Res Publica 24 (3):319-338.
    Do consumers’ ordinary actions of purchasing certain goods make them complicit in global labour injustice? To establish that they do, two things much be shown. First, it must be established that they are not more than complicit, for example that they are not the principal perpetrators. Second, it must be established that they meet the conditions for complicity on a plausible account. I argue that Kutz’s account faces an objection that makes Lepora and Goodin’s better suited, and defend the idea (...)
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