Climate policy is heavily influenced by economic policy advice, and thus by the methodology and mindset on which this advice is based. However, the models used by economists for analysing climate change have been developed for tackling smaller scale problems than climate change. Applying conventional methods to problems such as climate change brings foundational problems to the surface. In particular, it has become clear that the policy advice of climate economists is highly sensitive to certain basic normative assumptions. While the technicalities involved in climate economics constitute an obstacle for political theorists, the non-consequentialist aspects of some strands of ethical thinking are alien to practitioners of climate economics steeped in traditional economic paradigms. Climate change drives not only economics to its limits but also political theory. Certain old and also new questions of political theory are made salient by climate change in particularly stark terms.
We look for (i) political theorists and moral philosophers with an interest in economic methodology and environmental politics, (ii) climate economists who are keen to discuss the normative presuppositions of their field, and (iii) researchers from further fields such as geography. Topics on which we would welcome proposals include discounting the future; whether we should assume that our descendants will enjoy higher levels of welfare, and this assumption’s implications; conflicts between international and intergenerational justice; carbon trading; decision making under uncertainty, particularly in the face of potentially catastrophic threats, and ‘borrowing from the future’ to fund climate change mitigation.
The workshop is part of the Joint Sessions of the European Consortium for Political Research (ECPR) which will be held at the University of Salamanca, 10-15 April 2014. We will be a group of 15 — 20 people and each participant's paper will be discussed in depth. The workshop is organised by Matthew Rendall (Nottingham) and Dominic Roser