Energy Poverty and Dangerous Climate Change

Von Darrel Moellendorf

Abstract:
The chief objective of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change is to prevent “dangerous anthropogenic interference in the climate system” (Article 2). Attempts by natural and social scientists to identify dangerous climate change have failed to appreciate that danger in this context is a normative concept. Climate change is risky, but that which is dangerous is that which we have good reason to avoid. Because climate change and energy policy affect the well-being of billions of people, our reasons for the pursuit of a climate change policy involve moral values. Whether there is good reason in favor of a particular mitigation policy depends on its effects on the global poor. Human development depends upon inexpensive access to energy. Over one billion people live in energy poverty without access to modern energy. Most burn bio mass for fuel, which causes indoor pollution and is a public health problem rivaling that of HIV and tuberculosis. Fossil fuels, especially coal, are for most of the world the cheapest form of energy. But an international climate change mitigation regime is very likely to discourage use of fossil fuels and encourage innovation in renewable energy by raising the price of fossil fuels.

Any additional loss access to energy for the global poor is also dangerous. A morally acceptable international climate change regime must insure that the poor are not burdened by loss of access to inexpensive energy. This fits nicely with the UNFCCC’s commitment (in Article 3) to respect the right to sustainable development. And it suggests a moral reason to place the responsibility in climate change regime on the most highly developed states to shoulder the bulk of the costs of a global energy transition.

KlimaCampus Colloquium

Prof. Dr. Darrel Moellendorf (Principal Investigator Cluster of Excellence "The Formation of Normative Orders") at the invitation of the CliSAP Speaker Prof. Anita Engels

15. Januar 2015, 13:15pm, Universität Hamburg, Bundesstraße 53, room 22/23 (first floor)

Video: click here...

Abstract (pdf): click here...

 

Bildergalerie:

  • Prof. Dr. Darrel Moellendorf, Principal Investigator des Exzellenzclusters "Die Herausbildung normativer Ordnungen" und Professor für Internationale Politische Theorie und Philosophie
  • Prof. Dr. Klaus Günther, Co-Sprecher des Exzellenzclusters "Die Herausbildung normativer Ordnungen" und Professor für Strafrecht, Strafprozessrecht und Strafprozessordnung der Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main
  • Prof. Dr. Peter Niesen, Assoziiertes Mitglied des Exzellenzclusters "Die Herausbildung normativer Ordnungen" und Professor für Politikwissenschaft an der Technischen Universität Darmstadt
  • Prof. Dr. Darrel Moellendorf, Principal Investigator des Exzellenzclusters "Die Herausbildung normativer Ordnungen" und Professor für Internationale Politische Theorie und Philosophie und Prof. Dr. Anita Engels, CliSAP Speaker

 


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