Cosmopolitan Intergenerational Justice and Climate Change
This dissertation examines the moral and political responsibilities that are generated because of climate change. What are our moral and political responsibilities vis-à-vis pollution levels caused by past generations? What are our moral and political responsibilities vis-à-vis the environment today? What are our obligations to future generations? To answer these questions, I employ content analysis from philosophical texts, academic works and international environmental agreements and law in global justice, intergenerational justice, environmental ethics, and cosmopolitanism. I argue that current domestic and international environmental policies ought to consider past pollution levels and the injustices as well as harms rendered to do justice to those today who are most affected by climate change and pollution. Next, I show that our current formulation of environmental protection in the form of domestic and international environmental law is falling short by way of protecting the environment today, and that more aggressive and stringent environmental policies in the form of climate adaptation and mitigation policies are needed. Third, I assert that we have a clear duty and responsibility to engage in environmental protection to ensure that future generations can enjoy a stable climate from which they can realize their interests and rights. To connect all these arguments together, I argue for a cosmopolitan vision of intergenerational justice to promote the rights and interests of present and future generations. This dissertation aims to contribute to environmental ethics and global justice, offering an account of intergenerational justice and cosmopolitanism, grounded in the problem of climate change. My goal for doing so is to hopefully shed some light on how we can better respond to the spatial and temporal dilemmas generated because of climate change, by having concrete, substantial and stronger moral and political responsibilities to other human beings both across and within generations.