The emission of greenhouse gases causes climate change. Therefore, many support a global cap on emissions. How then should the emissions allowed under this cap be distributed? We first show that above average past emissions cannot be used to justify a right to above average current emissions. We then sketch three basic principles of distributive justice (egalitarianism, prioritarianism, and sufficientarianism) and argue, first, that prioritarian standards are the most plausible and, second, that they speak in favour of giving people of developing countries higher emission rights than people of industrialised countries. In order to support this point it has to be shown, inter alia, in what ways the higher past emissions of industrialised countries are relevant for today’s distribution of emission rights.
© 2006 by Lucius & Lucius, Stuttgart