The purpose of this project is to investigate four specific research questions concerning the responsibility to take on the costs associated with climate change. A further aim is to provide ethically sound premises for policy-making.
1 & 2. Climate cha nge raises questions both of mitigation and adaptation. Mitigation refers to the reduction of GHG emissions. Adaptation refers to the measures intended to reduce the impact of climate change. Both strategies are costly, and give rise to questions of distr ibution:
1) How should the responsibilities for carrying the cost of mitigation be distributed?
2) How should the responsibilities for carrying the cost of adaptation be distributed?
3. Discussions of the responsibility for the costs associated with cl imate change presuppose that there exist relevant agents to which responsibility can meaningfully be assigned. It is commonly assumed that nations or states are such relevant agents, but it is not obvious that this position is justified. The third researc h question confronts this issue:
3) Can states have moral responsibilities, and if so, under which conditions?
4. One thing is to establish that we have responsibilities, and that these should be distributed in a certain way. It is quite another thing to determine what exactly these responsibilities entail. While the preceding questions concern distribution across space, the present question deals with distribution across time. It is likely that conflicts of interest will arise between present and futu re generations. How demanding are the responsibilities that arise from this conflict? Thus the last research question is:
4) How extensive are the present generation's responsibilities towards future generations?
Answering these four research question s will bring us closer to a comprehensive theory of fair distribution of the burdens imposed by climate change. This, in turn, will provide important premises for the pressing debate on how to design