34 Pages Posted: 22 Jan 2010
Date Written: October 1, 2009
The climate crisis introduces an existential and moral dilemma of unparalleled proportions. The proliferation of carbon-based emissions in the atmosphere is threatening – and will continue to threaten with greater severity – the ecosystems that support all life and human civilisation. The impacts of climate change are experienced unevenly, with the most vulnerable – the ‘climate vulnerable’ – set to suffer first and worst.1 The current and anticipated impacts demonstrate a grand irony: those who will suffer most acutely are also those who are least responsible for the crisis to date. That irony introduces a great ethical dilemma, one that our systems of law and governance are ill-equipped to accommodate. Indeed, attempts to right this imbalance between fault and consequence have resulted in a cacophony of political negotiation and legal action between and amongst various political scales that have yielded insufficient remedies, if any. In this article, I introduce a theory of climate reparations to meet the great and disproportionate injuries that will result from anthropogenic climate change.
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