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Atmospheric JusticeA Political Theory of Climate Change$
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Steve Vanderheiden

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780195334609

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195334609.001.0001

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Climate Change and International Justice

Climate Change and International Justice

(p.81) 3 Climate Change and International Justice
Atmospheric Justice

Steve Vanderheiden (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the idea of cosmopolitan justice, or the application of egalitarian principles to relations between nations. Three primary challenges to this application are considered: the doctrine of state sovereignty in international law and political theory, which holds that the internal affairs of states ought to be the exclusive prerogative of national governments; the theory of political realism, which denies the existence of valid normative ideals within international relations, maintaining instead that the advancement of national interests are the only defensible aims in policy such as that affecting climate; and the anti-cosmopolitanism of Rawls and some of his allies, maintaining that principles of justice can only apply within some societies, denying that the aggregate global effects of anthropogenic climate change raise any distinctive problems for justice itself. The case for cosmopolitan justice (by Beitz and others) is examined, paying particular attention to its application to problems of global climate.

Keywords:   cosmopolitan justice, state sovereignty, political realism, Rawls, Beitz

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