Climatic Change

, Volume 133, Issue 3, pp 375–384 | Cite as

Climate justice in a carbon budget

  • Catriona McKinnonEmail author


The fact of a carbon budget given commitment to limiting global-mean temperature increase to below 2 °C warming relative to pre-industrial levels makes CO2 emissions a scarce resource. This fact has significant consequences for the ethics of climate change. The paper highlights some of these consequences with respect to (a) applying principles of distributive justice to the allocation of rights to emissions and the costs of mitigation and adaptation, (b) compensation for the harms and risks of climate change, (c) radical new ideas about a place for criminal justice in tackling climate change, and (d) catastrophe ethics.


Criminal Justice Emission Reduction Distributive Justice Climate Ethicist Carbon Budget 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



I am very grateful to Reto Knutti and Joeri Rogelj for their comments on earlier drafts of this paper. Comments made by Dominic Roser and two anonymous referees for the journal also greatly helped to improve the paper.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Politics and International RelationsUniversity of ReadingReadingUK
  2. 2.Institute of Climate Change and Public PolicyNanjing University of Information Science and Technology (NUIST)Pukou DistrictChina

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