Compensation Duties

In Gianfranco Pellegrino & Marcello Di Paola (eds.), Handbook of the Philosophy of Climate Change. Springer. pp. 779-797 (2023)
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While mitigation and adaptation will help to protect us from climate change, there are harms that are beyond our ability to adapt. Some of these harms, which may have been instigated from historical emissions, plausibly give rise to duties of compensation. This chapter discusses several principles that have been discussed about how to divide climate duties—the polluter pays principle, the beneficiary pays principle, the ability to pay principle, and a new one, the polluter pays, then receives principle. The chapter introduces several challenges to these principles from the literature, before discussing which policies and institutions might be relevant to compensation, whether internationally (e.g. the Green Climate Fund) or intergenerationally (e.g. Broome and Foley’s World Climate Bank). It also describes some recent successful climate cases which require both the Dutch government and a private firm to act in accordance with climate targets to avoid potential rights-violations. Finally, it discusses one of the most important international concepts with respect to compensation: the Loss & Damage pillar of climate policy.

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Kian Mintz-Woo
University College, Cork


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