The Obligations of Climate Winners


Mintz-Woo, K., & Leroux, J. (Forthcoming). The Obligations of Climate Winners.
The Obligations of Climate Winners


[Please note that this the penultimate conditionally accepted version. It will likely change before final publication. Please cite the final version from Economics and Philosophy when it is available.]

Climate ethics has been concerned with polluter pays, beneficiary pays and ability to pay principles, all of which consider climate change as a single negative externality. This paper considers it as a constellation of externalities, positive and negative, with different associated demands of justice. This is important because explicitly considering positive externalities has not to our knowledge been done in the climate ethics literature. Specifically, it is argued that those who enjoy passive gains from climate change owe gains not to the net losers, but to the emitters, just as the emitters owe compensation to the net losers for the negative externality. This is defended by appeal to theoretical virtues and to the social benefits of generating positive externalities, even when those positive externalities are coupled with far greater negative externalities.

Last updated on 09/07/2020