Ecological debt and historical responsibility revisited - The case of climate change
In spite of its strong appeal to NGOs, to certain governments and to some scholars, the concept of an ecological debt accumulated by developed countries due to their historical responsibility deserve a serious critical assessment. The paper provides this assessment in the context of climate change. It first shows how the rhetoric of ecological debt exploits confusion between a pre-modern concept of social debt and the modern one based on the contract figure. Two components of the climate debt are examined: a presumed duty of compensation of the damage imposed by climate change and rules of sharing out of atmospheric services when developed countries are presumed to have emitted GHGs in the past in excess of their fair share. The discussion considers successively the legal and the moral viewpoint. A review of arguments shows that both concepts of ecological debt and historical responsibility disintegrate under scrutiny in the case of climate change, as ill-founded backward-looking reparative concepts as well as additional obstacles to a forward-looking agreement in which responsibilities could legitimately be differentiated according to various variables referring to current states (emissions levels, needs, capacities, etc.). The GHGs emissions that cause problems are those that have taken place since 1990.
|Date of creation:||05 Sep 2012|
|Date of revision:|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: Convento, Via delle Fontanelle, 19, 50014 San Domenico di Fiesole (FI) Italy|
Web page: http://www.eui.eu/RSCAS/
More information through EDIRC
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Simeon Djankov & Edward L. Glaeser & Rafael La Porta & Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes & Andrei Shleifer, 2003.
"The New Comparative Economics,"
Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers
2002, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
- Simeon Djankov & Edward L. Glaeser & Rafael La Porta & Florencio Lopez-de-Silane & Andrei Shleifer, 2003. "The New Comparative Economics," NBER Working Papers 9608, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Djankov, Simeon & Glaeser, Edward L & López-de-Silanes, Florencio & Shleifer, Andrei, 2003. "The New Comparative Economics," CEPR Discussion Papers 3882, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Andrei Shleifer & Simeon Djankov & Edward L. Glaeser & Rafael La Porta & Florencio Lopez de Silanes, 2003. "The New Comparative Economics," Yale School of Management Working Papers ysm355, Yale School of Management.
- Djankov, Simeon & Glaeser, Edward & La Porta, Rafael & Lopez de Silanes, Florencio & Shleifer, Andrei, 2003. "The new comparative economics," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3054, The World Bank.
- Torras, Mariano, 2003. "An Ecological Footprint Approach to External Debt Relief," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 31(12), pages 2161-2171, December.
- Tol, Richard S. J. & Verheyen, Roda, 2004. "State responsibility and compensation for climate change damages--a legal and economic assessment," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 32(9), pages 1109-1130, June.
- Neumayer, Eric, 2000. "In defence of historical accountability for greenhouse gas emissions," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(2), pages 185-192, May.
- Sobel, Russell S., 2008.
"Testing Baumol: Institutional quality and the productivity of entrepreneurship,"
Journal of Business Venturing,
Elsevier, vol. 23(6), pages 641-655, November.
- Russell S. Sobel, 2006. "Testing Baumol: Institutional Quality and the Productivity of Entrepreneurship," Working Papers 06-06 Classification-, Department of Economics, West Virginia University.
- Marco Grasso, 2012. "Sharing the Emission Budget," Political Studies, Political Studies Association, vol. 60(3), pages 668-686, October.
- Olivier Godard, 2011. "Climate justice, between global and international justice -Insights from justification theory," RSCAS Working Papers 2011/56, European University Institute.
- Olivier Godard, 1998. "Sustainable Development And The Process Of Justifying Choices In A Controversial Universe," Post-Print hal-00622855, HAL.
- Robert Howse, 2007. "The Concept Of Odious Debt In Public International Law," UNCTAD Discussion Papers 185, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:rsc:rsceui:2012/46. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (RSCAS web unit)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.