Article

From Efficiency to Justice: Utility as the Informational Basis of Climate Strategies, and Some Alternatives

Simon Dietz

in The Oxford Handbook of Climate Change and Society

Published in print August 2011 | ISBN: 9780199566600
Published online January 2012 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199566600.003.0020

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Politics & International Relations

 From Efficiency to Justice: Utility as the Informational Basis of Climate Strategies, and Some Alternatives

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The aim of this article is to consider, from an ethical point of view, the role that economics should play in evaluating climate change strategies. It sets out a view of the strengths and weaknesses of economic evaluation of climate change strategies. The main strength of the economic approach is argued to be the formal framework through which it is able to compare human well-being across time, space, and states of nature, under alternative courses of action. But its main weakness is the substance of that comparison — utility, as the satisfaction of preferences for the aggregate consumption of goods and services. Furthermore, this article draws on the work of John Broome (1999) and Amartya Sen (1987), among others, to argue that the strength of the economic approach lies in its emphasis on interdependence and comparability of changes to human well-being.

Keywords: climate strategies; economics; human well-being; economic evaluation; climate debate

Article.  6867 words. 

Subjects: Politics ; Public Policy ; Political Theory

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