Keywords: Moral Responsibility; Climate Change; Collective Action; Inconsequentialism; Effectiveness.
Individuals commonly perform actions whose aim can be reached only if a sufficient number of others perform them as well. In such cases individual action makes no difference to the state of affairs. Does this imply that it is morally insignificant? The current paper analyses the deontological, consequentialist, and virtue-ethic approaches to attributing ethical value to individual contributions to collective action, with a particular focus on climate change. Subsequently, it proposes an alternative interpretation of moral responsibility in contexts of collective action, according to which individuals may be justified in acting even when the effects of their actions are intangible and the actions themselves are not necessarily effective (though also not certainly ineffective).