One of the most important insights to emerge over the past hundred years is that the actions of the current generation could have profound and far-reaching effects for future generations. Nowhere else is the sense that even distant future generations are at our mercy more visible and pressing than in the issue of climate change.
There is by now a very rich scientific literature on different emission pathways and the climatic changes associated with them. There are also a substantial number of analyses of the long-term macroeconomic effects of climate policy. While this provides an excellent basis for thinking about what should be done with regard to climate change, a considered response to climate change must also draw on normative principles and values. Science cannot say which level of warming we ought to be aiming for or how much consumption we ought to be prepared to sacrifice without an appeal to values and normative principles. This program will offer this kind of guidance by bringing together the normative analyses from philosophy, political science, and economics.
The overarching question of this program is what we should do with regard to climate change given that our choices will not just have an impact on future generations but also determine who and how many people will exist in the future. Our main goal is to deliver comprehensive and cutting-edge research into ethical questions in the context of climate change policy.
The program brings together world-leading philosophers, political scientists, and economists working on the ethical analysis of climate change to make progress on these difficult theoretical questions and their pressing practical applications. Moreover, this ethical analysis will be informed by new data and models provided by sociologists and demographers.
The program period is 2018–2023. The program is funded by Riksbankens Jubileumsfond (the Swedish Foundation for Humanities and Social Sciences) and led by PI Gustaf Arrhenius with Krister Bykvist and Göran Duus-Otterström as CO-PIs. It involves 32 researchers from all around the world.