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Title: An 'Ideal' Normative Theory for Greenhouse Negotiations?
Journal: Ethical Perspectives
Volume: 11    Issue: 1   Date: 2004   
Pages: 5-19
DOI: 10.2143/EP.11.1.504777

Abstract :
This article is an attempt to carry out an ethical analysis of international negotiations pertaining to the reduction of greenhouse-gas emissions. Following a brief review of the available scientific evidence regarding past and future climate change resulting from the emission of greenhouse gases, the authors proceed to an examination of the current status of international negotiations on climate policy, in particular the ratification status of the 1997 Kyoto Protocol. The ethical focus of this article is rooted in a ‘preferential option for the poor’, against narrowly utilitarian or libertarian positions. A welfare-theoretic framework is developed which is similar in inspiration to John Rawls’s ‘difference principle’. The authors conclude that the demands of international distributive justice require a solution that is sensitive to consequences, and this entails a focus that is broader than simply the fair distribution of gains from greenhouse negotiations. The authors argue that these negotiations must be viewed in the context of the inequitable international distribution of living standards.

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