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Arguments for a Better World: Essays in Honor of Amartya Sen, Volume 2Society, Institutions, and Development$
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Kaushik Basu and Ravi Kanbur

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780199239979

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199239979.001.0001

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Economics, Ethics and Climate Change †

Economics, Ethics and Climate Change †

Chapter:
(p.365) Chapter 19 Economics, Ethics and Climate Change
Source:
Arguments for a Better World: Essays in Honor of Amartya Sen, Volume 2
Author(s):

Simon Dietz (Contributor Webpage)

Cameron Hepburn

Nicholas Stern (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199239979.003.0020

Climate change raises challenging questions in the economics of risk, space, time, and in broader aspects of human well-being. Many of these are normative questions, which cannot be addressed without engaging with difficult ethical issues. The relationship between economics and ethics cuts both ways: careful, explicit examination of the ethical issues can guide the formulation of relevant economic questions, and economic analysis can provide guidance on ethical issues by clarifying the consequences of particular ethical viewpoints. Climate change demands that a number of ethical perspectives be considered. Welfare economics is just one perspective, and the standard ‘workhorse’ model, while powerful, has a particularly restrictive structure. Furthermore, it is not enough simply to presume that existing markets can provide a technocratic solution to questions of intergenerational justice. Coherent analysis requires the integration of economics with moral and political philosophy, a theme in much of Amartya Sen's work.

Keywords:   climate change, discounting, ethics, intergenerational equity, risk

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