Stephen M. Gardiner

Intergenerational Climate Extortion. On Making Future Generations Pay for Mitigation (and Maybe Everything Else?)

  • Abstract

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Keywords: Climate Justice, Climate Policy, John Broome, World Climate Bank, Intergenerational Ethics.

In earlier work, I argued that we face a governance gap when it comes to protecting future generations and that institutional expansion is required. Do we also need conceptual expansion? Are we in the grip of, say, conceptual short-termism as well as institutional short-termism? In this paper, I explore one candidate for conceptual expansion, that I (initially and tentatively) call “intergenerational extortionµ. My main claims are: (first) that there is a clear, identifiable threat in the intergenerational realm that resembles traditional extortion: (second) that this threat has immediate significance in light of current proposals to “make the grandchildren payµ for climate mitigation; and (third), that its relevance is not undermined by various disanalogies between it and more familiar cases of extortion.

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