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date: 02 June 2020

Abstract and Keywords

The human relationships underlying both international justice and intergenerational justice are less distant than commonly assumed, as Samuel Scheffler has argued, because causal webs tightly link persons across both space and time. Both the fossil-fuel energy regime that is causing climate change and the measures necessary to make the transition from that regime into an alternative energy regime impinge deeply upon the well-being of persons who have chosen neither the regime nor the transition, linking them across space. Similarly, the fates of persons in the distant future are in the hands of people living now because the time-of-last-opportunity to prevent disasters from becoming irreversible sometimes occurs centuries earlier than the start of the disaster itself. This is powerfully illustrated by the evident irreversibility of the melting of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, which will ultimately cause catastrophic rises in sea level across the globe.

Keywords: catastrophic, climate change, international justice, intergenerational justice, irreversibility, sea level, Samuel Scheffler, West Antarctic Ice Sheet

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