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Past Event

Seminar: Professor Henry Shue, ‘A legacy of dangers: Climate failure and future generations’

 Professor Henry Shue, Department of Politics and International Relations, University of Oxford

Chair: Professor Liam Dolan, Co-Director, Institute on Plants for the 21st Century

The principles that ought to guide our one-way relations with future generations depend profoundly on the precise nature of what is being provided to or - in this case, inflicted on - them.  Most discussions of intergenerational justice assume that some benefit is being provided to the future.  In the case of the accelerating rate of climate change, we face a dilemma.  Business-as-usual on our part will make the environment for future generations less hospitable to human enterprises, especially agriculture, than the environment is for us and has been for previous generations, leaving the situation worse than it is now and worse than it would need to be.  On the other hand, rapid climate change can be stopped only if emissions of greenhouse gases in general, and carbon dioxide in particular, are limited.  Any firm limit will make remaining cumulative emissions zero-sum, so that we will be competing with our own descendants for the limited remaining budget of allowed emissions.  This dilemma gives responsibility to future generations a radically different shape in this case.    

Seminars are free and open to everyone. They take place in the Old Indian Institute (corner of Holywell and Catte Streets) from 3.30-5.00pm on Thursdays during term time.

This event is part of a seminar series:

Seminar Series: "Intergenerational Justice: What do we owe future generations?"

What are the long-term consequences of decisions we make today, and to what extent should the interests of future generations be taken into account? There is a wide range of public policy challenges that require us to provide some sort of answer to these questions. This interdisciplinary seminar series brings together academics and experts to address the implications of critical question...

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Event Details

03 February 2011 15:30 - 17:00


Lecture Theatre, Oxford Martin School

34 Broad Street (corner of Holywell and Catte Streets)