9780199245086

Justice, Posterity, and the Environment

by ;
  • ISBN13:

    9780199245086

  • ISBN10:

    0199245088

  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2001-08-09
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press

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Summary

In rich countries, environmental problems are seen as problems of prosperity. In poor countries they are seen as problems of poverty. This is because the environmental problems in poor countries, such as lack of clean drinking water, are problems that affect them here and now, whereas inrich countries the environmental problems that people worry about most are those that-largely as a result of prosperity and economic growth-seem likely to harm mainly future generations. But what exactly are our obligations to future generations? Are these determined by their 'rights', or intergenerational justice, or equity, or 'sustainable development'? The first part of the book argues that none of these concepts provides any guidance, but that we still have a moral obligationto take account of the interests that future generations will have. And an appraisal of probable developments suggests that, while environmental problems have to be taken seriously, our main obligation to future generations is to bequeath to them a society in which there is greater respect forbasic human rights than is the case today. Furthermore, generations are not homogeneous entities. Resources devoted to environmental protection cannot be used for, say, health care or education or housing, not to mention the urgent claims in poor countries for better food, sanitation, drinking water, shelter, and basic infrastructures toprevent or cure widespread disease. It cannot serve the interests of justice if the burden of protecting the environment for the benefit of posterity is born mainly by poorer people today.

Table of Contents

Preface v
Acknowledgements vii
List of Figures
x
Introduction: Ethics and Economics in Environmental Policy
1(10)
Part 1. Justice between generations
The Rights of Future Generations
11(18)
Justice Between Generations
29(17)
Intergenerational Equity
46(25)
Sustainable Development
71(18)
How Much Richer Will Future Generations Be?
89(18)
Our Obligations to Future Generations
107(20)
Part 2. Justice between individuals
The Intrinsic Value of the Environment
127(16)
Plural Values and Environmental Valuation
143(24)
Part 3. Justice between nations
International Justice and Sharing the Burden of Environmental Protection
167(10)
International Justice and the Environment: Climate Change and Biodiversity
177(16)
Conclusions
193(7)
References 200(13)
Index 213

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