CLIMATE JUSTICE: BALANCING THE RIGHT TO DEVELOP AND THE NORM OF SUSTAINABILITY
Climate change presents a global problem that requires collective action. Distributing obligations in relation to this has proven problematic, especially in light of the divide between wealthy and developed states compared to poor and developing states. The norm of sustainability requires states to continue to protect and promote sustainable actions. This comes into direct conflict with the right to develop when considering how to mitigate climate change. The right to develop requires the use of limited resources now, whereas the norm of sustainability argues that these resources must be protected for both environmental protection and intergenerational justice. Intragenerational justice requires us to consider whether actions that protect the future may be causing greater injustice within the present generation. In this thesis, I discuss the important potential distribution principles, with considerations of historic responsibility, uncertainty, and the ability to pay principles. I then use this foundation to explore how a right to develop can fit within the balance of intergenerational and intragenerational justice. I also include the context of non-ideal theory as a means of making the discussion more relevant to the real-world situation we find ourselves in, with the partial and non-compliance of many states. I conclude that, within the context of non-ideal theory, there is a right to develop but currently it ought to be limited to a basic needs threshold if we wish to justly distribute obligations between and across generations.