The aim of this course is to introduce some of the main ethical issues raised by actions—both public and private—that cause greenhouse gas emission and thereby contribute to climate change. We will for instance consider whether private actions, such as flying and eating meat, causes unjust climate harms. Relatedly, we will discuss whether individuals can meet their obligations by offsetting the greenhouse gas emission they cause. When it comes to public actions, we will examine questions such as how to estimate the total (expected) harm of climate change and compare it to the total cost of reducing greenhouse gas emission; for instance, what role we should give to the well-being (and existence) of future generations when making such comparisons.

John Broome’s Climate Matters: Ethics in a Warming World will provide a background to the topics covered in the course, but in addition we will read a selection of journal articles.

Link to Schedule