The Climatic Challenge to Global Justice



How should we think of justice when the evil we can do to one another is not visible nor immediate, but rather impalpable and causally, spatially and temporally dispersed? What does justice demand, when our actions and institutions do not directly sabotage the life prospects of others but rather do so derivatively, by sabotaging the very eco-systems in which such lives are or will be lived? In a globalized, resource-depleted, overpopulated, rapidly changing, ecologically deteriorating world, what is owed to the billions of spatiotemporally distant people who are paying or shall pay the costs of the last 200 years of heavy industry, globalized trade and enthusiastic economic growth? And is that a question we can answer from within or by extending our present theories, or do we rather need to find new ways of thinking about what is just and unjust, once the level of our reflections becomes planetary and intergenerational?