Room 310, Level 3, Morven Brown Building, UNSW Kensington
Professor Jeremy Moss, UNSW; Professor Chris Armstrong, University of Southampton Center for Citizenship, Globalization, and Governance
To mitigate the threat of climate change, we must transition to a low-carbon economy via new methods of energy production and by eventually phasing out fossil fuels. This event will consider some of the issues that arise for a transition away from fossil fuels. The presentations will focus on issues such as: how might we justly share the costs of natural resource conservation, especially in terms of the global climate and remaining fossil fuel reserves? Ought we to divest from fossil fuels? And, what role, if any, should government subsidies play? The speakers will address the various dimensions of this more specific question from a variety of angles.
In this seminar, we invite you to discuss what is needed to achieve just strategies in our responses to mitigating climate change in transitioning to a low-carbon economy.
Professor Chris Armstrong, University of Southampton Center for Citizenship, Globalization, and Governance: 'The Burdens of Conservation'
This paper answers the question: if some natural resources ought to be conserved (which might mean actively protected, or simply not used), who should bear the costs, globally speaking? What role should we give, in answering that question, to considerations of responsibility for threats to resources, patterns of benefits from conservation, and ability to pay? I illustrate the argument with reference to examples, one of which is rainforest protection, and another key one of which is the costs of leaving the natural resource in the soil. The paper also finishes by considering some institutional mechanisms for sharing the costs of conservation more fairly.
Divestment from companies that produce or heavily utilise fossil fuels has become one of the biggest issues in the contemporary moral debate surrounding climate change. Pressured by student and civil society based movements, universities and other institutions are being asked to divest themselves of their fossil fuel related investments. To date, there have been some very major institutions and funds who have begun to divest, the most notable being Norway’s Government Pension Fund. Many universities have also followed suit. There are many issues at play in the divestment debate, but one fundamental issue concerns the moral arguments that are used to justify divestment. Given that divestment is one of the biggest issues and fastest growing movements in the climate debate, it is important to be clear on these arguments. In this presentation I will briefly characterise what divestment means and to whom it applies. I will then look at negative and positive duty accounts of the duty to divest before looking at the standard objections to both.