The fruit of twenty years of moral reflection on the emerging greatest challenge to humanity of the 21st century, these far-sighted and influential essays by a pioneering practical philosopher on the tangled questions of justice between nations and justice across generations confronting all attempts at international cooperation in controlling climate change sharply crystallize the central choices and offer constructive directions forward. Arguing that persistent attempts by U.S. negotiators to avoid the fundamental issues of justice at the heart of persistent international disagreement on the terms of a binding multilateral treaty are as morally misguided as they are diplomatically counter-productive,
Henry Shue has built a case that efforts to price carbon (through cap-and-trade or carbon taxes) as a mechanism to drive down greenhouse gas emissions by the affluent must, for both ethical and political reasons, be complemented by international transfers that temporarily subsidize the development of non-carbon energy and its dissemination to those trapped in poverty. Our vital escape from climate change rooted in the dominance of the fossil fuel regime ought not, and in fact need not, come at the price of de-railing the escape of the world's poorest from poverty rooted in lack of affordable energy that does not undermine the climate. The momentum of changes in the planetary climate system and the political inertia of energy regimes mean that future generations, like the poorest of the present, are vulnerable to our decisions, and they have rights not to be left helpless by those of us with the power instead to leave them hope.
"There is little doubt that anthropogenic climate change constitutes an unprecedented challenge for human civilization. And there is no doubt whatsoever that the ethical dimensions involved – not the scientific, technical and economic ones – make that challenge almost intractable. Only deep and bold thinking beyond the conventional realms of scholarship can show us the way towards a just global solution. This thinking is provided, in its finest form, by Henry Shue."
- Professor H. J. Schellnhuber, Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK)
"Professor Henry Shue reminds us that climate change is indeed the unavoidable issue of our time just as efforts to reach an international climate agreement in 2015 intensify. My own work on climate justice is informed by the work of Henry Shue, as the impacts of climate change increasingly undermine human rights and it is the most vulnerable in our societies who are impacted most. Climate Justice: Vulnerability and Protection is a timely collection of essays for all who are concerned with the well-being of our shared humanity."
- Mary Robinson, President of the Mary Robinson Foundation Climate Justice and UN Secretary Generals Special Envoy for the Great Lakes region of Africa
1: The Unavoidability of Justice
2: Subsistence Emissions and Luxury Emissions
3: After You: May Action by the Rich Be Contingent Upon Action by the Poor?
4: Avoidable Necessity: Global Warming, International Fairness, and Alternative Energy
5: Equity in An International Agreement on Climate Change
6: Environmental Change and the Varieties of Justice
7: Eroding Sovereignty: The Advance of Principle
8: Bequeathing Hazards: Security Rights and Property Rights of Future Humans
9: Global Environment and International Inequality
11: A Legacy of Danger: The Kyoto Protocol and Future Generations
12: Responsibility to Future Generations and the Technological Transition
13: Making Exceptions
14: Deadly Delays, Saving Opportunities: Creating a More Dangerous World?
15: Face Reality? After You!: A Call for Leadership on Climate Change
16: Human Rights, Climate Change, and the Trillionth Ton
17: Climate Hope: Implementing the Exit Strategy
Appendix: Declaration on Climate Justice
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Henry Shue is best known for his 1980 book, Basic Rights: Subsistence, Affluence, and U.S. Foreign Policy (Princeton; 2nd ed., 1996) and his articles, Torture (1978) and Mediating Duties (1988), he has taught at the University of North Carolina, Wellesley College, University of Maryland, Cornell University, and Oxford. After initial research on human rights, especially economic rights, he has during recent decades concentrated on practical philosophy concerning war, on which he edited Nuclear Deterrence and Moral Constraint (Cambridge, 1989), Preemption (Oxford, 2007), Just and Unjust Warriors (Oxford, 2008), and The American Way of Bombing (forthcoming).