Arguing about Climate Change: Judging the Handling of Climate Risk to Future Generations by Comparison to the General Standards of Conduct in the Case of Risk to Contemporaries

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Amsterdam University Press, Dec 1, 2008 - Political Science - 148 pages
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Judging the handling of climate risk to future generations by comparison to the general standards of conduct in the case of risk to contemporaries. Intergenerational justice requires that climate risks to future generations be handled with the same reasonable care deemed acceptable by society in the case of risks to contemporaries. Such general standards of conduct are laid down in tort law, for example. Consequently, the validity of arguments for or against more stringent climate policy can be judged by comparison to the general standards of conduct applying in the case of risk to contemporaries. That this consistency test is able to disqualify certain arguments in the climate debate is illustrated by a further investigation of the debate on the social discount rate, used in cost-benefit analysis of climate policy.

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General introduction
An inconvenient truth
Climate damage as wrongful harm to future generations
Regulation of climate change and the reasonable man standard
A social discount rate for climate damage to future generations based on regulatory law
How reasonable man discounts climate damage
Parallels in reactionary argumentation in the US congressional debates on the abolition of slavery and the Kyoto Protocol
Nederlandse samenvatting
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About the author (2008)

The present thesis is based on research carried out by Marc Davidson at the University of Amsterdam. Marc currently works as a senior consultant at CE Delft, Solutions for environment, economy and technology, and teaches bioethics at the University of Amsterdam.

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