Confronting climate crisis: A framework for understanding the criteria for addressing dangerous climate change

Makoff, Ruth (2011) Confronting climate crisis: A framework for understanding the criteria for addressing dangerous climate change. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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Abstract

Despite wide acknowledgement of the threats from human-induced climate change to
human societies and the wider ecosystem, no comprehensive long-term global agreement
to tackle the problem has yet been reached to replace the Kyoto Protocol. In arguing for a
replacement, evaluative claims are often made that certain policy proposals are more
environmentally effective, equitable or efficient than others. However, these three dominant
criteria are subject to a range of interpretations, and can come into conflict with one
another. This limits their use for guiding policy. Philosophy can and should play a role in
scrutinising alternative conceptions, their justifications and assumptions, and help develop
justifiable formulations of the criteria. Existing philosophical contributions have focused
on aspects of the equity criterion, but have largely overlooked the other two criteria and
have not considered how they should be prioritised overall. This thesis, for the first time,
considers and proposes an ordering of these three criteria (focusing on mitigation), drawing
on a Green Economic conceptual framework. This places ecological effectiveness first,
defining the ecological limits of economic greenhouse gas-emitting activity; equity is then
applied second, to define equitable resource sharing of the emissions space; and efficiency
last, to imply genuinely efficient use of emissions space in contributing to equitable human
well-being. The thesis then examines in detail how each criterion should be interpreted
within this context, so that they are mutually consistent. As well as offering a set of ordered
evaluative criteria for a climate change mitigation agreement, it aims to highlight the role
of the conventional political-economic framework in climate policy debates and draw out
the hidden conceptual and ethical assumptions it imports. This thesis also, therefore, aims
to further the development of Green Economic thinking and show its relevance to the
current substantial threat of dangerous anthropogenic climate change.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > School of Philosophy
Depositing User: Mia Reeves
Date Deposited: 20 Dec 2012 10:28
Last Modified: 20 Dec 2012 10:28
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/40462
DOI:

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