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Environmental Values

Carbon Leakage and the Argument from No Difference

Matthew Rendall

Environmental Values 24 (2015): 535-552. doi: 10.3197/096327115X14345368710022


Critics of carbon mitigation often appeal to what Jonathan Glover has called 'the argument from no difference': that is, 'if I don't do it, someone else will'. Yet even if this justifies continued high emissions by the industrialised countries, it cannot excuse business as usual. The North's emissions might not harm the victims of climate change in the sense of making them worse off than they would otherwise be. Nevertheless, it receives benefits produced at the latter's expense. This enrichment is unjust; unjustly-enriched agents ought to make compensation. The best form of compensation is vigorous action against climate change.


Climate change, carbon leakage, consequentialism, over-determination

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Editorial: Tackling Climate Change, Breaking the Frame of Modernity. Clive L. Spash

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