Transforming National Commitments on GHG Emissions Reduction Based on Equity and Justice
Donald BrownScholar-In-Residence and Professor, Sustainability Ethics and Law, Widener University School of Law Visiting Professor, Nagoya University Venue: Meeting Room 1, UNU-IAS
Pacifico-Yokohama, 1-1-1 Minato Mirai
This presentation will make specific recommendations on how to increase national commitments on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reductions based upon “equity” and “justice” in light of 30 years of climate change policy debates in 2 countries, the United States and New Zealand.
To prevent dangerous climate change, many observers of national GHG emissions reductions commitments, which have been made under the UNFCCC, have concluded that nations must adjust current commitments to levels based upon “equity’ and “justice”. To develop a strategy for greater consideration of ethical obligations by nations, it is necessary to understand why nations have failed to recognize their ethical obligations thus far. The history of climate change debates in the two countries demonstrates that these debates have almost exclusively focused on economic impacts on the nations adopting climate change policies or scientific uncertainty about climate change impacts. Thus there has been a narrow economic and scientific framing of national climate change policy issues in these nations which hides, distorts and ignores ethical obligations. This history also reveals widespread failures of the national media, higher education and civil society in encouraging discussion of the ethical obligations of nations to reduce the threat of climate change.
Therefore a strategy to transform national commitments on GHG emissions reductions based upon equity and justice must encourage express consideration of the ethical and justice dimensions of climate change policies. Such a strategy should (a) increase national media coverage of climate change ethical issues, (b) encourage higher education to educate civil society better about the importance of ethical framing of climate change policy issues, and (c) increase assistance to NGOs and civil society in understanding that how climate policy issues are framed and debated at the national level will determine the extent to which ethical issues are considered in setting national climate change policy.
11:00 - 11:05
Opening RemarksGovindan Parayil (Vice-Rector of UNU and Director of UNU-IAS)
11:05 - 11:50
Transforming National Commitments on GHG Emissions Reduction Based on Equity and Justice Donald Brown (Scholar-In-Residence and Professor, Sustainability Ethics and Law, Widener University School of Law; Visiting Professor, Nagoya University)
11:50 - 12:30
Donald A. Brown is Scholar In Residence for Sustainability Ethics and Law, Widener University School of Law in Harrisburg. At Widener University Law School he teaches courses on international comparative environmental law. He is also a contributing author to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), 5th Assessment Report. Previously, he was Associate Professor of Environmental Ethics, Science, and Law at the Pennsylvania State University where he taught interdisciplinary courses on the science, ethics, and legal aspects of climate change and sustainable development. Prior to that, he was an environmental lawyer for the states of Pennsylvania and New Jersey and Program Manager for United Nations Organizations at the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of International Environmental Policy. His main professional focus has been in promoting ethical reflection on issues that arise in environmental, economic, social, and legal controversies about sustainability issues at national and international levels. He has written over 130 books, book chapters, and articles on environmental and sustainability ethics, legal, and scientific issues. His newest was published in November 2012 by Rutledge, Earthscan, Navigating the Perfect Moral Storm, Climate Ethics. He manages an award-winning blog EthicsandClimate.org, a website that reviews ethical issues that arise in climate change policy formation