Global warming and the cosmopolitan political conception of justice

Environmental Politics 17 (4):592-609 (2008)
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Abstract

Within the literature in green political theory on global environmental threats one can often find dissatisfaction with liberal theories of justice. This is true even though liberal cosmopolitans regularly point to global environmental problems as one reason for expanding the scope of justice beyond the territorial limits of the state. One of the causes for scepticism towards liberal approaches is that many of the most notable anti-cosmopolitan theories are also advanced by liberals. In this paper, I first explain why one of the strongest expressions of liberal anti-cosmopolitanism cannot simply be dismissed because it may fail to support desired environmental ends. The political conception of justice represents one of the most important challenges to cosmopolitanism generally and is thus a serious challenge to viewing global environmental problems in terms of cosmopolitan justice. Second, I will show through the case of anthropogenic global warming that the political conception of justice under current conditions does have clear cosmopolitan implications despite its proponents' claims.

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Aaron Maltais
Stockholm Environment Institute

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