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Ecological Theories on Bioethics - Dictionary of Arguments

Norgaard I 344
Bioethics/Rights-Based Ethics:/Ecological Theories: (…) Vanderheiden (2006: 343)(1) notes that ‘neither spatial nor temporal distance between agents and their victims can excuse acts of intentional or predictable harm.’ A related interpretation is provided by Caney (2008: 538)(2), who argues that climate stabilization is necessary to secure and defend at least three kinds of fundamental human rights. In particular, Caney argues that climate change:
1. Violates people's right to subsistence by imposing risks of ‘widespread malnutrition’ that are well documented by the scientific literature.
2. Threatens people's capacity to ‘attain a decent standard of living’ (emphasis added), a point that resonates with the economic arguments advanced by Weitzman (2009)(3).
3. Poses unacceptable risks to human health due to a range of mechanisms that include heat stress and the increased incidence of tropical diseases.



1. Vanderheiden, S. 2006. Conservation, foresight, and the future generations problem. Inquiry 49: 337–52.
2. Caney, S. 2008. Human rights, climate change, and discounting. Environmental Politics 17: 536–55.
3. Weitzman, M. L. 2009. On modeling and interpreting the economics of catastrophic climate change. Review of Economics and Statistics 91: 1–19.


Howarth, Richard: “Intergenerational Justice”, In: John S. Dryzek, Richard B. Norgaard, David Schlosberg (eds.) (2011): The Oxford Handbook of Climate Change and Society. Oxford: Oxford University Press.


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Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution. Translations: Dictionary of Arguments
The note [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.
Ecological Theories
Norgaard I
Richard Norgaard
John S. Dryzek
The Oxford Handbook of Climate Change and Society Oxford 2011


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