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Emissions for Sale: The Ethics of Emissions Trading
Linköping University, Department of Culture and Communication, Centre for Applied Ethics.
2003 (Swedish)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year))Student thesis
Abstract [en]

International regulations target a global reduction of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions through the allocation of national reduction targets and the definition of mechanisms to achieve these targets. One of these mechanisms is international emissions trading, these trading programs have been the targets of widespread criticism since they were introduced into the policy-making arena. The point of departure in this study has been that the trading raises questions about morality, since it implies signals, which legitimates pollution. The main purpose with this study has been to find out if emissions trading systems can be morally justified with the method of wide reflective equilibrium. From the study it was found that the moral intuition; it is wrong to pollute the environment, and perform activities, which legitimates pollution, finds support from the different theories within environmental ethics and Kantian ethics. But, it was also found that there are a number of background theories, such as neo-classical economic thinking, liberalism, and utilitarianism, that supports the notion of emissions trading. The paper argues that even though the concept of CO2-emissions trading raises moral questions it can be morally defended on the basis of rationality. When the theory about specification is applied to the concept of emissions trading it is possible to reach a situation were a wide reflective equilibrium is achieved.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Centrum för tillämpad etik , 2003.
Keyword [en]
Ethics, International regulations, ethics, pollution, CO2-emissions trading, wide reflective equilibrium
Keyword [sv]
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-1954ISRN: LIU-CTE-AE-EX--03/04--SEOAI: diva2:19281
Available from: 2003-09-09 Created: 2003-09-09

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