Is there an obligation to reduce one’s individual carbon footprint?

Download Edit this record How to cite View on PhilPapers
Abstract
Moral duties concerning climate change mitigation are – for good reasons – conventionally construed as duties of institutional agents, usually states. Yet, in both scholarly debate and political discourse, it has occasionally been argued that the moral duties lie not only with states and institutional agents, but also with individual citizens. This argument has been made with regard to mitigation efforts, especially those reducing greenhouse gases. This paper focuses on the question of whether individuals in industrialized countries have duties to reduce their individual carbon footprint. To this end it will examine three kinds of arguments that have been brought forward against individuals having such duties: the view that individual emissions cause no harm; the view that individual mitigation efforts would have no morally significant effect; and the view that lifestyle changes would be overly-demanding. The paper shows how all three arguments fail to convince. While collective endeavours may be most efficient and effective in bringing about significant changes, there are still good reasons to contribute individually to reducing emission. After all, for most people the choice is between reducing one’s individual emissions and not doing anything. The author hopes this paper shows that one should not opt for the latter.
Reprint years
2012, 2014
PhilPapers/Archive ID
SCHITA-19
Revision history
First archival date: 2015-11-21
Latest version: 2 (2018-03-06)
View upload history
References found in this work BETA

View all 15 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA
What’s Wrong with Joyguzzling?Kingston, Ewan & Sinnott-Armstrong, Walter
Causing Global Warming.Gunnemyr, Mattias

View all 6 citations / Add more citations

Added to PP index
2012-07-09

Total views
468 ( #5,424 of 39,516 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
93 ( #4,343 of 39,516 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads since first upload
This graph includes both downloads from PhilArchive and clicks to external links.