Consequentialism, Climate Change, and the Road Ahead

Chicago Journal of International Law 13 (2):439-468 (2013)
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In this paper I tell the story of the evolution of the climate change regime, locating its origins in "the dream of Rio," which supposed that the nations of the world would join in addressing the interlocking crises of environment and development. I describe the failure at Copenhagen and then go on to discuss the "reboot" of the climate negotiations advocated by Eric A. Posner and David Weisbach. I bring out some ambiguities in their notion of International Paretianism, which is supposed to effectively limit the influence of moral ideals in international affairs, and pose a dilemma. I go on to discuss the foundations of their views regarding climate justice, arguing that the most reasonable understandings of their favored theoretical views would not lead to some of their conclusions. Finally, I return to the climate regime, and make some observations about the road ahead, concluding that for the foreseeable future the most important climate change action will be within countries rather than among them.
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