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Webinar: What Climate Do We Owe to Our Great-Great-Grandchildren?

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Monday, 23 April 2018, 2:55

Monday, April 23, 2018. 2:55PM. Webinar: What Climate Do We Owe to Our Great-Great-Grandchildren? Anja Karnein, Binghamton University. Sponsored by David R. Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future. More information here.


It is becoming less and less controversial that we ought to aggressively combat climate change. One main reason for doing so is concern for future generations, as it is they who will be the most seriously affected by it. Surprisingly, none of the more prominent theories of intergenerational justice can explain why it is wrong for the present generation to do very little to stop worsening the problem. I will briefly review discusses three such theories, namely indirect reciprocity, common ownership of the earth and human rights. I show that while the first two are both too undemanding, the latter approach misunderstands the nature of our intergenerational relationships, thereby capturing either too much or too little about what is problematic about climate change. I then propose a way to think about intergenerational justice that avoids the pitfalls of the traditional theories and can explain what is wrong with perpetuating climate change.

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