Equitably Ending the Fossil Fuel Era: Climate Justice, Capital, & the Carbon Budget
Lenferna, Georges Alexandre
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This dissertation makes the moral case for equitably transitioning away from fossil fuels in line with keeping global warming as close as possible to the Paris Climate Agreement’s more stringent target of keeping global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. It argues that we should do so while relying as little as possible on risky and uncertain negative emissions and geoengineering technologies, as doing so might prolong the fossil fuel era and pose grave potential costs both to the present and future generations. The dissertation addresses a central objection to the moral imperative to transition away from fossil fuels, namely that it will detrimentally impact the poor and vulnerable. It argues in response that protecting the interests of the poor and vulnerable is best achieved through a rapid yet just transition away from fossil fuels. Based on the moral case to transition away from fossil fuels in line with 1.5°C the dissertation also explores what personal moral responsibility individuals have to take action to reduce fossil fuel usage and act on climate change. It does so by situating our moral responsibility in the context of what it argues is an emergency situation where need to rapidly and comprehensively move away from fossil fuels to avert catastrophic climate change and the immense harms associated with continued fossil fuel dependence. Based on the development of an Anti-Pollution Principle, it concludes that in the face of this emergency we have demanding moral responsibilities to reduce our personal emissions but which can be outweighed by the more important task of collectively pushing for deep, rapid, and comprehensive structural change away from fossil fuel dependency.
- Philosophy