Climatic Change

, Volume 140, Issue 2, pp 101–107 | Cite as

Feasibility, normative heuristics and the proper place of historical responsibility—a reply to Ohndorf et al.

  • Fabian Schuppert
  • Christian SeidelEmail author


In this comment, we pick up three points raised by Ohndorf et al. (Clim Chang 133:385–395, 2015) in their reply to our ethical assessment of the German Advisory Council’s Budget Approach (WBGUBA). First, we discuss and clarify the relationship between ethics and political feasibility, highlighting that the way Ohndorf et al. use feasibility creates an unwarranted status quo bias. Second, we explain the proper place historical responsibility should have within the WBGUBA, stressing the fact that the reasons why we choose one policy proposal over another matter. Third, we analyze the limited extent to which a normative heuristic should motivate an ethically ambitious policy proposal like the WBGUBA.


Proper Place Policy Proposal Historical Responsibility Initial Allocation Climate Justice 
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  1. Ohndorf M et al (2015) Emission budget approaches for burden sharing: some thoughts from an environmental economics point of view. Clim Chang 133:385–395CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Schuppert F, Seidel C (2015) Equality, justice and feasibility: an ethical analysis of the WBGU’s budget approach. Clim Chang 133:397–406CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Sen (2009) The idea of justice. Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  4. WBGU (2009) Solving the climate dilemma: the budget approach. Special Report. BerlinGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Queen’s University BelfastBelfastUK
  2. 2.Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU)ErlangenGermany

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