Climate Change and Future Justice : Precaution, Compensation and Triage book cover
1st Edition

Climate Change and Future Justice
Precaution, Compensation and Triage

ISBN 9780415461252
Published October 19, 2011 by Routledge
182 Pages

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Book Description

Climate change creates unprecedented problems of intergenerational justice. What do members of the current generation owe to future generations in virtue of the contribution they are making to climate change?

Providing important new insights within the theoretical framework of political liberalism, Climate Change and Future Justice presents arguments in three key areas:

  • Mitigation: the current generation ought to adopt a strong precautionary principle in formulating climate change policy in order to minimise the risks of serious harm from climate change imposed on future generations
  • Adaptation: the current generation ought to create a fund to which members of future generations may apply for compensation if the risks of climate change harm imposed on them by the current generation ripen into harms
  • Triage: future generations ought to keep alive hope for a return to the framework of justice for the social cooperation of future people less burdened by climate change harms.


This work presents agenda-setting applications of important principles of democratic equality to the most serious set of political challenges ever faced by human society. It should be required reading for political theorists and environmental philosophers.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction  2. A Rawlsian Approach to Climate Change Justice  3. Precautions  4. Intergenerational Corrective Justice  5. The End of the World As We Know It: Catastrophes and Triage  6. Conclusion: Getting Motivated in the Last Chance Saloon

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Catriona McKinnon is Professor of Political Theory at the University of Reading. She has published widely on many topics in contemporary political theory, including toleration, political liberalism, equality, and cosmopolitanism.


"With thoroughness and sophistication, [McKinnon] explores intergenerational justice in light of the current generation's contribution to climate change." - R. E. O'Connor, CHOICE, January 2013, Vol. 50 No. 05