In order to seriously attempt to meet the 1.5 degree Celsius target, it will be necessary to implement a substantial reduction in global emissions. There are several factors that must be assessed when coming to a view about how emissions should be allocated between states. One of the important issues here, and a source of much political contention is the question of whether past emissions are relevant to determining how the remaining global carbon budget should be allocated between states and, if so, precisely how.
In my contribution, I begin from a principled position that high-emitting countries would plausibly want to endorse, namely a defence of temporary grandfathering grounded in the idea of legitimate expectations. I argue that when one holds this position, consistency demands that the past is relevant in other ways too; in particular, that the highly unequal levels of past emissions should matter to determining their forward-looking allocation owing to how they benefit currently living and future people. I further argue that this also holds in reverse: when one claims that the highly unequal levels of past emissions are relevant to determining the allocation, one should also accept the normative relevance of legitimate expectations of individuals in historically high-emitting countries.
Lukas H. Meyer, Professor of Philosophy and Head of the Department of Philosophy at the University of Graz, Austria
Sanjay Vashist, Director, Climate Action Network South Asia
Shashi Motilal, Associate Professor,Department of Philosophy, University of Delhi
Britta Peterson, Senior Fellow, ORF