By Phil Ryan
7th June 2022
Transforming Society, Policy Press

While there is near-universal agreement concerning the essential facts of the climate emergency, many believe that the question of climate justice is a matter of merely personal opinion. But the intricate interweaving of fact and value beliefs suggests otherwise.

“Fairness is always in the eye of the beholder”, declared a delegate at the 2021 Glasgow Summit. He was discussing one of the most vexing questions in international climate negotiations: how to distribute the burdens of climate action. In 1992, 154 countries ratified the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, with its key principle of ‘common but differentiated responsibilities’. But to arrive at a durable agreement, translating that principle into binding emissions targets has proven impossible.

The quote expresses a belief that is extremely influential in our world: that norms are mere personal preferences. Debating ethical matters, in this view, is as fruitless as debating one’s taste in oysters, as Bertrand Russell put it.

Read full article in Transforming Society…