Distributive justice and the global emissions budget

In order not to significantly overshoot maximum levels of warming like the 1.5 and 2°C target we must stay within a fixed emissions budget. How to fairly distribute the entitlements to emit within such a budget is perhaps the most intensely discussed question in all of climate justice. In our review we discuss the most prominent proposals in moral and political philosophy on how to solve this question and put a special emphasis on scholarly contributions from the last decade. We canvass the arguments for and against emissions egalitarianism, emissions sufficientarianism, and emissions grandfathering as well as the debates surrounding them. These are how to deal with non-compliance, how to split emissions between producers and consumers, how to best account for terrestrial carbon sinks, and whether emissions from having children should be subtracted from parents' emissions budgets. From the viewpoint of justice, it matters not only that we act against climate change but also how we do so. This review aims to elucidate one of the major ways in which our reaction to climate change could be just or unjust.


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