Article: article from journal or magazin.
Climate Change, Neutrality and the Harm Principle
Ethical perspectives = Ethische perspectieven
This paper aims at evaluating the compatibility of coercive climate policies with liberal neutrality. More precisely, it focuses on the doctrine of state neutrality as associated with the "harm principle". It argues that given the difficulty of attributing causal responsibilities for climate harms to individuals, the harm principle doesn't work in this case, at least if one endorses a liberal atomistic ontology. Furthermore, the definition of what constitutes climate harms implies making moral assumptions, which makes it impossible to justify climate policies in a neutral way. Finally, the paper shows another consequence of applying neutrality to the case of climate change, that is the risk of a shift from political forms of decision-making to technocracy. Focusing too much on liberty of choice may (paradoxically) be to the detriment of political freedom. The paper concludes that climate change is an intrinsically moral issue and that it should be the occasion of a political debate about our current values and lifestyles. It should not be reduced to a mere question of carbon metric.
Climate change, political philosophy, neutrality, harm principle, responsibility, technocracy
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