Individual Emissions and Moral Responsibility for Climate Harm

University essay from Umeå universitet/Institutionen för idé- och samhällsstudier

Abstract: This essay argues that personal greenhouse gas emissions render the individual responsible forclimate-related harm to a great extent. To accomplish this, there will primarily be a focus onanswering the most important criticisms of individual climate responsibility. Issues concerningcausality are the first to be brought up, followed by issues concerning direct harm, simpledivision and unintentional contributions to harm, among other topics. The three main conclusionsdrawn in the discussion of these topics are that individual emissions can be considered partialcauses of climate harm, that most emission-heavy activity is immoral to some extent, and that theact of contributing to collective actions with foreseeable negative effects is morally questionable.These conclusions and their implications will be interpreted in a way that is compatible with thedefinition of responsibility that is used. Responsibility is considered to be a matter of degree forthe purposes of this essay. This will allow for a much wider range of relevant aspects to be takeninto consideration, when arguing for individual responsibility for climate harm

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