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Climate Change Justice

3 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0691137759
ISBN-10: 0691137757
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Editorial Reviews


"Anyone taking part in the next round of climate negotiations in Mexico in December should take this book with them. It is . . . certainly a guide. Legislating for the future is always tricky. This area is trickier than most."--Sir Crispin Tickell, Financial Times

"[T]his book is a potent attack on an argument that is growing rapidly in popularity yet declining in clarity and focus. . . . Chapter 1 provides what must be one of the most comprehensive, comprehensible, and yet still succinct accounts of the science of anthropogenic climate change currently in print."--Jamison E. Colburn, Concurring Opinions blog

"[B]y reflecting so clearly on the current 'economic consensus', Posner and Weisbach provide a useful introduction to the current state of play in climate change politics."--Joy Paton, Australian Journal of Political Science

From the Back Cover

"To attract broad participation from the major countries emitting greenhouse gases, both rich and poor, a climate change treaty has to be cost-effective and perceived as fair. In this book, while agreeing that fairness matters, Posner and Weisbach make a provocative case that fairness has been widely misunderstood."--Jonathan B. Wiener, Duke University

"This incisive book points the only way forward on climate change. Posner and Weisbach carefully weigh the arguments on a wide range of issues, from what policies have the strongest merit to how we should value the welfare of future generations. The analysis is provocative, judicious, and accessible. Read these pages. They will clarify your thinking."--Richard J. Zeckhauser, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University

"There is no challenge facing the world that combines the importance and the apparent intractability of the threat of global climate change. The central problem is the necessity of including all major emitting countries--both developed and developing--in a meaningful international agreement. This raises exceptionally difficult questions regarding distributional equity. Eric Posner and David Weisbach take on these questions, and in the process provide an excellent roadmap to the playing field, and--more important--some surprising and enlightening answers. This book should be on the must-read list of anyone seriously concerned about global climate policy."--Robert N. Stavins, professor and director, Harvard Project on International Climate Agreements

"Taking a clear, unflinching, and rigorous approach, this book pierces simplistic views of climate change justice, and makes a strong case for addressing climate change and justice separately. It will change the debate."--Michael P. Vandenbergh, director of the Climate Change Research Network

"This is the most sustained and broad-gauged discussion of climate justice that I know of. Serious future debates about the subject will have to deal with this book and its arguments. It will interest general readers as well as specialists in climate policy."--Richard Stewart, author of Reconstructing Climate Policy: Beyond Kyoto


Product Details

  • Hardcover: 232 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press (March 14, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0691137757
  • ISBN-13: 978-0691137759
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 0.8 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #525,554 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
The premise of this book is: "The importance of an international treaty (to mitigate climate change) can scarcely be exaggerated" (pg. 2), in fact, the authors endow the "broad, deep, and enforceable treaty" with an ethical obligation (pg. 169 - 170) - no justification given for this deontological imperative.

The prospect of an enforceable treaty immediately raises issues that go beyond its goals and the means, namely those of entitlements, rights, and obligations under the treaty. These issues have to be settled prior to its conclusion. Given the stakes involved, all sorts of claims have been lodged: some spurious, some wrong or misguided, some justified. The book tries to sort out these claims, grouping them under several headings:

(a) distributive justice (should the treaty be a means to redistribute wealth from the rich to the poor);
(b) guilt (a broad application of the 'polluter pays' principle);
(c) per capita allocation of pollution entitlements;
(d) treatment of future generations.

The analysis is not always an easy one to follow. This is partly inherent in the way claims are staked: they are usually sweeping, emotional, and contain different strands that have to be taken apart painstakingly. For the first three items the claims for 'special and differentiated responsibility' are questioned, and the authors argue that "nations should approach the climate problem with a forward-looking, pragmatic perspective", rather than try to use the opportunity to settle scores, in the specific climate change area or in general.

One caveat: when adjudicating entitlements, it would seem important to me as a precondition to adjudicate the question: "who is the eventual polluter?
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Everything was on time and excellent. . It was easy to pay and it was also fast. Thank you for your job
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The authors could have debated what to do if it became known that a huge astroid was heading straight for the earth. That would have been more interesting exercise in wild speculation than musing about what what to do to prevent or embrace apocalyptic climate change. At least astronomy is a solid science and if the astronomers say an astroid is about to hit the earth you can have some confidence in what they say.

The authors do not ask if there is any substance to the predictions of climate doom handed down by the Intergovernmental Committee on Climate Change (IPCC). The supposedly sophisticated law professors seem to think that the highly implausible predictions of the IPCC have been handed down from heaven on stone tablets. Perhaps the authors have to accept apocalyptic climate change predictions as true. There wouldn't be much reason to write most of their book otherwise.

Some judge said the constitution is not a suicide pact. But our law professors think that is plausible that the important nations of the world will join in a treaty that would clearly be an economic suicide pact. These nations are supposed to give up most fossil fuels in the name of preventing the hypothetical global warming. These are the same nations that can't sacrifice 5% of the GDP to keep their debt from spiraling out of control.

The professors have a real problem with science. They seem to think that if an expert with an impressive false front (i.e. the IPCC or Al Gore) say that the sky is falling it must be so. They eagerly swallow the most fake predictions, such as rising sea level or malaria going wild. There is no indication that their understanding of global warming is even up to the boy scout merit badge level. That said, maybe global warming really is a looming disaster. It's hard to prove a negative.
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Climate Change Justice
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