With this essay I will attempt to do a few things. First, I will introduce the concept of global justice, and will briefly sketch the positions of the most prominent schools of thought upon it. I will then outline the issue of climate change, and explain why I believe that we should arrive at much the same conclusions about the demands of global justice regarding it no matter which of the aforementioned schools of thought we adhere to. Given these conclusions, I will propose that there can be little doubt that the majority of affluent nations are today acting unjustly in regards to climate change. I will then discuss the implications of recognising this fact for individuals living within such countries, and argue that citizens of affluent nations are obligated, by a negative duty not to contribute to injustice, both to limit their own emissions of greenhouse gas, and to undertake further efforts to rectify the injustice involved in climate change and compensate its victims.
Traditionally, the boundaries of justice were seen to be national borders, and the only globally recognised standard of behaviour to which nations were held was a general moral duty not to violate other nations’ sovereignty. In recent times, however, it has become increasingly recognised that the issue of justice also concerns the interactions between states, and that people may owe obligations of justice to others who live beyond their own borders. This thought, however, has given rise to a number of theoretical debates, and a number of different schools of thought have arisen about what global justice might be.
Four major schools of thought on this question are Liberalism, Utilitarianism, Libertarianism, and Communalism. Liberalism, while it has many different forms, generally entails the view that global justice should primarily be grounded in the provision and protection of a universal set of human rights.
Utilitarianism, on the other hand, is the view that a just international system would, so far as possible, serve to create the best overall outcome, or the greatest ‘utility’. It therefore does not admit of any in-principle recognition of national sovereignty or human rights.
Libertarianism differs from both these views, maintaining that the primary concern of justice should be the protection of individual freedom. Calling upon the common distinction between positive and negative duties – positive referring to duties to take certain actions, negative referring to duties to refrain from taking certain actions – libertarians insist that the only obligations that individuals should have under a system of justice are negative duties not to harm others.
And finally, Communitarianism is the view that there is no one standard of justice that has a claim to be universally recognised, and holds that it is the autonomy of states must be upheld as widely as is possible. Like with libertarianism, however, this autonomy of states is limited by the proviso that it must not be used to harm other states.
So given these widely divergent views, it is a rare issue that would lead theorists from each camp to achieve a consensus position about the demands of global justice. Yet in climate change, it seems, we may have just such an issue. But before exploring why this is so, we will first need to understand a little bit more about the problem of climate change itself.
For over a century, humankind has been aware both that greenhouse gasses warm the earth by trapping heat, and that its activities of burning fossil fuels and clearing forests were increasing the concentrations of these gasses in the atmosphere. Today, the scientific consensus is that these activities are the main reason that average global temperatures have increased by roughly 0.8˚C.
This warmer world has brought with it many consequences, including sea level rises, increases in extreme weather events, droughts, flooding, and ocean acidification, just to name a few. According to the World Health Organization, these and other factors stemming form climate change were responsible, in the year 2000 alone, for 150,000 human deaths.
Yet as severe as this current situation is, the true importance of the climate issue is largely due to the risks of its future impacts. Sea level rises, for example, can so far be measured in centimetres, but could eventually reach metres, causing an unprecedented loss of property and human displacement.
The Obligations of States
It is therefore widely recognised by the vast majority of world governments that climate change is a serious issue and that steps should be taken to slow and if possible reverse its effects. And there is also surprisingly little controversy, at least from the standpoint of political philosophy, about who must do the lion’s share of reducing emissions. The majority of commentators agree that it is principally the responsibility of developed nations, who are responsible for the bulk of historical emissions, and whose citizens continue to pollute far more per capita than developing nations, both to reduce their own emissions to a sustainable level and to compensate developing countries both for the costs they incur as a result of climate change and for their lost opportunity to develop through unconstrained use of fossil fuels.
The reason for this consensus is that the same conclusions tend to arise when considering climate change no matter what school of political philosophy we adhere to. From a liberal perspective, one can say that emitting greenhouse gasses at unsafe levels compromises the rights of others, and so the countries emitting at such levels – principally the developed nations – must reduce their emissions. And compensation for developing countries can be defended on the basis that the historical pollution of the developed countries has represented the usurpation of a resource to which all humans have an equal right – the atmosphere’s ability to absorb greenhouse gas emissions.
Different justifications for much the same prescriptions arise from a utilitarian perspective. On this view, greenhouse emissions should be reduced globally not to protect rights, but because doing so will produce more utility than would be produced by continuing to pollute unimpeded. And the bulk of this reduction should occur in developed countries simply because that is where emissions can be reduced with the least cost in terms of utility. A redistribution of wealth to developing countries can be justified on similar grounds – it will produce more utility, in terms of enhanced abilities to cope with climate change and the promotion of environmentally friendly development, than will be lost within the developed countries from which the wealth is sourced.
Similar conclusions may also be drawn from libertarian and communitarian perspectives. Each of these views, in its own way, is antipathetic towards constraints upon autonomy – of individuals for libertarians or of communities for communitarians. At first glance, this suggests that both views would oppose requirements to reduce greenhouse emissions or transfer wealth. However, both of these views also recognises that autonomy must be limited by the condition that agents, be they individuals or communities, should not act in such a way as to impede the autonomy of other agents. And climate change is a case where the actions of an individual or a community can indeed impede the autonomy of others. Individuals or communities may desire to continue with the unrestricted burning of fossil fuels, but we cannot pretend, in the face of climate change, that such an action is not doing anyone any harm. Both libertarians and communitarians, then, will need to accept that there need to be restrictions on the level at which individuals or communities can cause greenhouse emissions.
They will also need to accept, I believe, that victims of climate change should be compensated for their losses, and that this compensation should be provided by the agents responsible. For if it is unjust to impede an individual or community’s autonomy, then when such an impediment occurs its perpetrators must be punished, and its victims compensated. Without such penalties, we would not have a system of justice so much as simply a moral code that people might voluntarily choose to accept or reject.
There is therefore relatively little philosophical controversy to be had upon the question of what global justice demands of affluent nations when it comes to climate change. On any of the views outlined above, it is hard to escape the conclusion that affluent nations must reduce their emissions to a sustainable level, and provide climate-related compensation to poorer nations.
Unfortunately, however, there is also little doubt that few affluent nations are meeting these demands. Without going into too much detail, it should suffice to note, in this regard, that despite a strong international consensus amongst both scientists and world governments that global warming should at all costs be kept below an average global temperature rise of 2°C, the current emissions reductions commitments of affluent nations are more likely to lead to a rise of 3°C this century. And while the World Bank has estimated that developing countries will face costs of between $75-100 billion dollars per year between 2010 and 2050 simply to adapt to the changing climate, affluent counties have committed only to providing a sum of around $8 billion dollars a year in climate-related finance to the needy.
The Obligations of Individuals
In the face of these figures, it is hard to maintain that global justice is being observed on climate change, no matter which of the schools outlined above we belong to. Yet this then leads to a further question that has so far received less attention – namely, what are individuals within affluent states obligated to do if they recognise that their own state is acting unjustly on climate change? This is a question that has become of great relevance to the lives of the majority of citizens of the developed world, and is likely to be asked ever more frequently in coming years.
Ideally, then, philosophy would provide us with some concrete answers to this question. It would also be ideal if, like the question of what states are obligated to do, it could produce answers about our individual obligations that are able to establish an equally broad consensus – so did not rely upon any premise that many would be likely to reject.
With this in mind, it will be best if we follow the lead of Thomas Pogge, who for years has argued that contrary to the assumption of most, citizens of affluent nations possess obligations to lift the global poor out of poverty that are grounded not in a positive duty of charity, but instead result from the failure of those citizens to fulfil a negative duty not to harm the poor.
Following Pogge, I would like to build an argument for our obligations to act on climate change purely upon negative duties for two main reasons. First, climate change, like poverty, is a pressing issue, and so demands arguments that are convincing, and motivating, to as broad a spectrum of people as possible. And while I certainly have intuitions that we possess positive duties, I recognise that any argument I make that relies upon these intuitions will be without force for anyone who does not share them. Second, I also think that arguing strictly from negative duties is more effective in the context of climate change than poverty. Certain problems that arise with Pogge’s view are, I believe, less problematic when we consider climate change.
Reducing personal emissions
So what are the individual obligations regarding climate change that can be derived from negative duties? The first obligation I will argue for – reducing our personal level of greenhouse gas – should not be controversial. If an activity is causing harm and posing enormous risks to others, as greenhouse emissions do, then we have a negative duty not to partake in it. But when it comes to the developed world and greenhouse emissions, partake in it we certainly do.
Darrel Moellendorf has calculated that a safe level of greenhouse emissions that a human being may cause, assuming we are allocate an equal level to everyone on earth, is around 1.24 mt CO2 per year. In affluent countries, however, average per capita emissions are generally 10-15 times that amount, so most people in such countries must drastically reduce their personal emissions to reach Moellendorf’s level.
Yet while drastic, such reductions are achievable. Many aspects of the lifestyles of the affluent are highly emissions-intensive in easily avoidable ways. By paying a few extra dollars a week for clean power, choosing public transport, forgoing overseas holidays, and being conscientious in food and consumption choices, most people in the developed world can greatly reduce the emissions they are responsible for without making any major sacrifices or lowering their standard of living. So given the harm to others that excessive greenhouse emissions cause, and the relative ease with which citizens of the affluent world can avoid contributing to this harm, it seems that we must conclude that they have a negative duty to do so.
This brings us to the first way in which Pogge’s negative duty-based arguments for individual obligations are less problematic when related to climate change than poverty. Pogge argues that each citizen of the developed world harms the poor directly through collaborating in the imposition of an unjust global order upon them. Others, however, have questioned the extent to which individual citizens of affluent countries can be held responsible for the current global order. Deborah Satz, for example, has expressed doubt about whether the policies of the IMF, which are negotiated out of the public view and are generally unknown to the majority of people in the developed world, can plausibly be said to have been imposed by, say, an unemployed Western steelworker.
Pogge has replies for Satz, but whether or not they are convincing should not concern us here. The only point I wish to make is that it is far less problematic to assert that citizens of affluent countries are violating a negative duty by directly imposing harm upon the victims of climate change than it is to say the same about the victims of poverty. After all, unemployed Western steelworkers may never have heard of the IMF, but they certainly cause greenhouse emissions.
So we have an obligation, then, founded in a negative duty, to reduce our own greenhouse gas emissions. But once we have done so, have we discharged all of our negative duties on climate change? This idea may seem appealing – after all, if we are no longer emitting more than our fair share of greenhouse gas, we can plausibly claim to no longer be doing anyone harm. But this is not, I believe, where our negative duties on climate change end.
To explain why, it will again be useful to refer Pogge. In his view, citizens of affluent countries possess obligations to the global poor based upon two separate violations of negative duty. The first, mentioned above, is collaborating in the imposition of an unjust global economic system that harms the developing world. The second is actively benefiting from the imposition of that system. Each violation, he believes, grounds an obligation to recompense the poor.
Personally, however, I am unsure if we are in fact dealing with two separate negative duty violations here. Norbert Anwander has argued, in my view convincingly, that it is not wrong in and of itself to benefit from an injustice. If it were, he argues, then it would be wrong for us to have X-rays, which were developed in part through data gained via the bombing of Hiroshima, and to breathe cleaner air as a result of many people having been unjustly prevented from pursuing industrialisation. Something that is wrong, however, is to withhold gains one has accrued via an injustice that could be mobilised towards rectifying that injustice. To do so, Anwander claims, is to perpetuate, and therefore contribute to, the injustice itself – and thus to violate a negative duty towards its victims.
Put in the context of climate change, this argument states that citizens of affluent countries who have accrued personal wealth largely due to the unsafe use of fossil fuels, and subsequently refused to mobilize any of that wealth towards combating climate change and compensating its victims, are perpetuating, and thereby contributing to, the injustice visited upon those victims. This suggests that such citizens have individual obligations – founded solely upon the negative duty not to contribute to injustice – to make efforts to rectify the injustice involved in climate change, and to compensate its victims.
I believe that here we can again see Pogge’s general project as less problematic when applied to climate change than to poverty. In the case of poverty, it is hard to quantify the benefits that have accrued to individuals via the injustice present in the global economic system – a fact that Pogge freely admits. Who can know, for example, how much wealth they might personally have had if, say, international trade rules had always been fair, or if colonial exploitation had not occurred? In each case, the world would certainly be different, and one can likely mount a good argument that citizens of the developed world would be less affluent than they currently are. But it seems at least plausible that even if the aforementioned injustices had not occurred, the developed world would still have experienced much of its economic activity.
This is important if we want to base individual obligations to take actions to fight against poverty on the grounds that those individuals have benefited from, and thereby contributed to, an injustice against the poor. If we are unable to quantify, or even give an accurate estimate of, how much any one citizen of the developed world has benefitted from, and thereby contributed to, the harm inflicted on the poor, we will not be able to estimate the size of their obligations. Opponents of Pogge’s argument might argue that only a very minor portion of the developed world’s wealth has resulted from the injustice visited upon the developing world, and by so doing underplay the resulting obligation. After all, if one only benefits very little from an injustice – like, say, a waiter who receives an extra tip from a criminal’s stolen money – this certainly limits how stringent an obligation one has to rectify the injustice in question.
With climate change, however, we are at much more liberty to postulate how much each individual citizen of the affluent world has benefited from, and thereby contributed to, the harm inflicted on the victims of climate change than that inflicted on the victims of poverty. Because while it is plausible that a great proportion of the developed world’s economic activity would still have occurred without unjust policies towards the global poor, it is highly unlikely that developed economies would have achieved anything like their current affluence without the extensive use of fossil fuels.
I will take it that this is a relatively uncontroversial fact – since the industrial revolution, fossil fuels have provided the basis for almost all economic growth in the developed world. And so there are few, if in fact any, members of affluent societies who can credibly claim that their personal level of wealth is unconnected from fossil fuels and the historical and present contribution of developed economies to climate change. Even those who try to disconnect themselves from fossil fuels as much as possible – say, by living on self-sufficient farms –will almost inevitably still have fossil fuels to thank for much of their standard of living. Their education, health care, tools, solar panels, and the capital they used to set up such farms would very likely not have been available to them were it not for their societies’ use of fossil fuels.
It is clear, then, that citizens of affluent countries possess a further negative duty-derived obligation to make efforts to rectify the injustice of climate change, which stem from to the extent to which their standard of living has been derived from that injustice. But while this obligation is intimately related with the fossil fuel-based affluence of the developed world, we should not assume that transfers of wealth to the developing world are the only way it may be fulfilled.
One could argue, for example, that what the victims of climate change need, more than charitable donations, are political changes within affluent nations. Consequently, it may be that the most useful thing a citizen of an affluent nation can do to rectify the injustice of climate change is to spend time working towards domestic policy changes. Moreover, there are people in the developed world who may not have much money, but nonetheless will have still benefitted enormously from the use of fossil fuels – students being an obvious example. Working towards domestic policy changes may in fact be the only way they can fulfil the obligation that is derived from such benefits.
Unlike the obligation to reduce personal emissions, however, this further obligation has no clear limit, and how far-reaching it might be is an interesting question. Climate change, of course, is an enormous injustice, and has many beneficiaries, so it is impossible for any one of these beneficiaries to ever completely rectify the injustice to which they have contributed. It might stand to reason, then, that the obligation of any single beneficiary is merely to rectify their fair share of the injustice – to act in a way that, if the other beneficiaries followed suit, would lead to the injustice being rectified. The resulting principle would be that if we benefit from, and thereby contribute to an injustice, then we have an obligation, founded upon a negative duty, to do our fair share alongside other beneficiaries to rectify that injustice. Let’s call this the ‘fair shares’ principle.
But suppose, for example, that my friend and I both somehow contributed to pushing two children into a pond. Now, on the fair shares principle, I should pull at least one child out. But what if I do, and I see that my friend is not going to pull out the other? What then? According to the fair shares principle, by saving one of the children I will have rectified my share of the injustice I contributed to, and by doing so will have discharged my negative duty. On this view, my obligation towards the second child would be a purely positive obligation to help – and therefore exactly the same as that possessed by any innocent bystander who had nothing at all to do with the child being pushed into the pond.
But this seems wrong. Anyone, I suggest, would intuitively demand that having contributed to the child being in the pond, I possess a greater obligation to rescue that child than an innocent bystander does. Yet if this is so, it indicates that the fair shares principle is mistaken – for in this case, I still seem to possess a negative duty-derived obligation towards the second child, despite having rectified an equal share of the injustice I contributed to.
If these intuitions are sound, then I believe they tell us that we are obligated by negative duty to make efforts to try to rectify injustices we have contributed to, regardless of whether other contributors have fulfilled their share of the compensatory effort. So long as there exist victims of injustice whose plight we have contributed to, it would seem, we are obligated to attempt to rectify the injustice done to them.
This has large implications for individual responsibility over climate change. If citizens of affluent nations recognise that climate change represents a severe injustice from which they have greatly benefitted, then in order to avoid perpetuating that injustice they must not just to reduce their own greenhouse emissions, but also to make further efforts, with the time and money made available to them largely via fossil fuels, to rectify that injustice. Furthermore, this latter obligation, rather than being limited to rectifying one’s ‘fair share’ of the injustice of climate change, can be seen to become more demanding when other people who have benefitted from the injustice in question refuse to play their part.
Unfortunately, these are obligations that few in the developed world are meeting. Yet there are, I believe, certain considerations that act to mitigate the blame that can be apportioned to individual citizens for failing to meet these obligations, which are primarily based upon the understanding and beliefs of the individual in question.
These considerations are not, however, the commonly voiced view that the developed world cannot accountable for all of its greenhouse pollution, because much of it occurred before its effects were understood. As Henry Shue has noted, while it may be unfair to punish someone for a harm they were ignorant of causing, it is certainly not unfair to ask that they, once the facts of the harm are known, provide compensation. If I unknowingly receive stolen goods, for example, I should perhaps not be punished, but I still have an obligation to return them to their owner once I realize they are stolen, and should be blamed for failing to do so. Past ignorance, then, has little effect over current moral obligations to rectify injustices, or blameworthiness for not doing so.
Current ignorance within individuals, however, is a different. If, for example, I was still unaware that I had received stolen goods, most of us agree that this reduces my moral culpability for failing to return them. Many people in the developed world, I would suggest, fall into this category in the context of climate change to a greater or lesser degree. Knowledge of the science behind climate change, the severity of its risks, and the extent to which the affluence of the developed world has resulted from its causation are certainly gaining widespread recognition, but they are still far from everyday knowledge. We should therefore admit, I believe, that people who lack such knowledge are less blameworthy for failing to fulfil their climate-related obligations than those with a broader understanding.
For his part, Pogge does not give much truck to such considerations. In his view, if citizens of affluent states do not know, for example, about the policies of the WTO, then this is their fault for not taking an active interest in such matters, and demanding more transparency from their government. Choosing to remain ignorant, he asserts, does not absolve our responsibility for harms done in our name. Expanding on this view, we might say that given that all the information one needs about climate change is freely available, and has been widely disseminated within the developed world, its citizens are themselves to blame if their ignorance of these matters persists.
Yet there is a difference between choosing to remain ignorant and genuinely being ignorant. In fact, it is questionable whether those who choose to remain ignorant about something can really be said to be ignorant of it – as long as they are aware that there may be certain knowledge that they do not want, and so deliberately avoid it, then this awareness itself, as Pogge intuits, renders them blameworthy for that which they are wilfully ignorant of. But when someone is genuinely ignorant, and so does not even know that there may be some knowledge that they do not want, we must, I believe, hold them less accountable for not acting upon what they do not know. And unfortunately, such genuine ignorance does still exist, at least for some, about climate change.
In response to this, we might argue that each of us possesses an obligation, founded in the negative duty not to contribute to harm, to investigate where our wealth originates, and ensure that it hasn’t resulted from an injustice. Yet there is also a large difference between, say, making sure that the car your drug-addicted friend is selling you is not stolen, and examining the entire basis of the affluence of one’s society. There may be reasonable grounds for anyone to suspect that the car was obtained via injustice, so neglecting to investigate its origins can be seen to be a case of Pogge’s wilful ignorance, and to be blameworthy. Yet to suspect that the fossil fuel-based wealth of one’s society has been largely accumulated as a result of an injustice would seem to require exactly the kind of understanding of climate change that many people in affluent societies still lack.
So while there are doubtlessly many people who do not thoroughly investigate the origins of their wealth, the current level of knowledge of some of these people may provide them with little reason to suspect that this is something they should be investigating. In this case, their position is more akin to someone buying a car from a friend who is normally responsible – it might be stolen, but they have no special reason to be concerned that it is. Again, I believe, we have to accept that when this is the case, the blameworthiness of such people for failing to fulfil their climate-related obligations is lessened.
There is, however, one school of excuses for people’s inaction in the face of climate change that I believe we should reject. These excuses rely on the notion that a belief in one’s powerlessness to stop something absolves one of responsibility trying to solve it. Someone, for example, may see a child drowning in a shallow pond, but if they cannot swim, and honestly believes that the pond is too deep for them to reach the child, we might excuse them for not attempting a rescue. In the same way, many people feel powerless to do anything about climate change, and honestly believe that even if they made strenuous efforts to combat it, these efforts would ultimately have no effect over the issue.
So are such people less blameworthy, as a result, for their inaction? I think not. In the above example, we would surely expect the non-swimmer in question to check thoroughly how deep the pond was before giving up – and this demand would likely become even stronger if the individual in question was giving up on the fulfilment of a negative rather than positive duty. So before anyone surrenders to apathy regarding climate change, they should at the very least thoroughly investigate what they can do about it, and whether or not they actually can make a difference.
Now, when undertaking such an investigation, one will very likely find many pessimists who will testify that apathy is appropriate, for individuals cannot have any effect over the kind of political decisions and cultural factors that influence climate change. But one will also find many others, like Thomas Pogge, who will swear that people can indeed bring about large political changes when they are dedicated and organised, and in fact have done so many times in the past.
So how should we adjudicate this matter? Logically speaking, whether or not people have been able to bring about political changes in the past is not ultimately decisive on the matter of whether someone today can do so regarding any particular contemporary issue. It could be the case that people have been able to create change before, but it is not possible to do so on this particular issue at this particular time. And it could also be the case that no one has ever been able to bring about substantial political change on any issue before, but that it is possible to do so now.
We should look somewhere other than the past, then, to appraise our chances of creating political shifts on climate change. But where? What we are asking for here are predictions about what effects certain actions might have if we take them. But the world is far too complex for such predictions to be made. With our actions, we can affect others’ future actions, which can then affect others, and so on ad infinitum. Trying to predict and quantify the effects of any one individual’s actions, then, seems futile.
What this means, I believe, is that logic demands we accept a certain level of uncertainty about what individuals can and cannot do in relation to creating political change any contemporary issue. But this uncertainty is important, for it indicates that at a certain level, anyone who believes they are powerless to create change on an issue is choosing to believe they are powerless – they do not, and cannot, know this for sure. And this choice to believe in one’s powerlessness, just like the choice to remain ignorant, does little to mitigate the blameworthiness of its chooser.
We do not know, then, if reducing our own emissions, or taking further actions towards combating climate change and rectifying its injustice will be successful. But if the above arguments are sound, then acceptance of a relatively uncontroversial negative duty not to contribute to injustice leads us to conclude that citizens of affluent countries, who are broadly aware of the facts at play in the climate issue, are nonetheless strongly obligated to take such actions.
 Michael Blake, “International Justice”, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Winter 2008 Edition), http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/win2008/entries/international-justice/
 IPCC, Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007), 103-106. http://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/assessment-report/ar4/wg1/ar4-wg1-chapter1.pdf
 Ibid, 727-728
 IPCC, Climate Change 2007: Synthesis Report. Contribution of Working Groups I, II and III to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (Geneva: IPCC, 2007), 30-33. http://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/assessment-report/ar4/syr/ar4_syr.pdf
 World Health Organization, Climate Change and Health: Fact Sheet, 2005 http://www.who.int/globalchange/news/fsclimandhealth/en/index.html
 IPCC, Climate Change 2007: Synthesis Report, 53
 Stephen Gardiner “Ethics and Global Climate Change,” Ethics 114, no. 3 (2004): 579.
 Another climate-related utilitarian justification for a wealth distribution might simply be that unless developing countries are aided to develop using low-emissions technologies, they may refuse to constrain their emissions, and choose to pursue affluence in the same way in which it was attained by the developed world, producing vastly undesirable outcomes.
 One possible difference that may arise on libertarian and communitarian views concerns the requirement that developing nations be financially assisted to develop their economies using low-emission technologies. For libertarians, this requirement may be stretching beyond the reach of the imperative not to impede upon others’ liberty, and for communitarians, it may seem too much like the universalisation of a Western-centric value set. But so long as we have, on each view, the requirement that all individuals or communities constrain their greenhouse emissions to levels that do not impede the self-determinacy of others and that compensation be provided to victims of past emissions, we will have a stance similar enough to those outlined above for the purpose of this essay.
 UNFCCC, United Nations Draft decision -/CP.15 Copenhagen Accord, 18 December 2009, http://unfccc.int/resource/docs/2009/cop15/eng/l07.pdf
 Joeri Rogelj, Julia Nabel, Claudine Chen, William Hare, Kathleen Markmann, Malte Meinshausen, Michiel Schaeffer, Kirsten Macey & Niklas Höhne, “Climate Pledges are Paltry,” Nature 464 (2010): 1126-1128.
 World Bank, The Costs to Developing Countries of Adapting to Climate Change: New Methods and Estimates, 2009, 1. http://siteresources.worldbank.org/INTCC/Resources/EACCReport0928Final.pdf
 World Resource Institute, Summary of Climate Finance Pledges Put Forward by Developed Countries, February 18, 2010, http://pdf.wri.org/climate_finance_pledges_2010-03-04.pdf
 Thomas Pogge, “Assisting” the Global Poor,” in The Ethics of Assistance, ed. Deen K. Chatterjee, (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2004) 260-288.
 Darrel Moellendorf, “Treaty Norms and Climate Change Mitigation,” Ethics and International Affairs 23, no. 3 (2009): 257.
 United Nations Statistics Division, Greenhouse Gas Emissions: CO2 Emissions in 2006, August, 2009. http://unstats.un.org/unsd/environment/air_co2_emissions.htm
 It is by no means clear, however, that citizens of the developed world should be able to produce even this amount of emissions, as by the time of adulthood most will have emitted far more than a lifetime’s share of Moellendorf’s 1.24 mt quota. To many, it would seem intuitive that having far overshot the safe mark in the past would require one to subsequently undershoot it to make amends. Yet while this question deserves examination, the mere requirement to reduce emissions to Moellendorf’s quota is certainly demanding enough for most in the developed world to suit the purposes of this essay.
 Thomas Pogge, “Real World Justice,” The Journal of Ethics 9, (2005): 29-33.
 Debra Satz, “What Do We Owe the Global Poor?,” Ethics & International Affairs 19, no. 1 (2005), p. 51.
 Thomas Pogge, “Severe Poverty as a Violation of negative Duties,” Ethics & International Affairs 19, no. 1 (2005): 71.
 Norbert Anwander, “Contributing and Benefiting: Two Grounds for Duties to the Victims of Injustice,” Ethics & International Affairs 19, no. 1 (2005): 39-46.
 Pogge, “Severe Poverty as a Violation of negative Duties,” 79-80.
 Willem Nell & Cristopher Cooper “Implications of fossil fuel constraints on economic growth and global warming”, Energy Policy 37, no. 1 (2008): 170-172.
 For example, it would be illegitimate for a citizen of the developed world to claim, in response to Sir Nicholas Stern’s estimate that the cost of mitigating climate change would amount to 1% of global GDP (Sir Nicholas Stern, The Economics of Climate Change: The Stern Review (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007) 239), that contributing 1% of their personal income they had thereby discharged their negative duty not to perpetuate injustice. Such a contribution would doubtlessly leave the individual in question with enormous leftover benefits from the unjust use of fossil fuels that could be mobilized towards rectifying that injustice. This would still count as perpetuating injustice.
 Shue, Henry, “Global Environment and International Inequality,” International Affairs 75 no. 3 (1999): 535.
 EcoAmerica, The American Climate Values Survey: Research Summary, October, 2008. http://www.nature.org/initiatives/climatechange/files/acvs_summary.pdf
 Pogge, “Severe Poverty as a Violation of negative Duties,” 79.
 Ibid, 81-82.