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How Free Do We Need To Be? - Effective Climate Change Policies under the Liberal Democratic Paradigm
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Earth Sciences, Department of Earth Sciences.
2015 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

There are good reasons to assume that addressing Climate Change, one of the most fundamental problems of today’s ecological crises, in an adequate manner raises ideological problems for liberal democracies: On the one hand, nation states have a responsibility to reduce greenhouse gas emissions which requires drastic restrictions, but on the other hand it is considered illegitimate for liberal democracies to interfere with individual lifestyles. This thesis therefore investigates the research question if a ban on fuel-intensive cars, as exemplary policy, is compatible with the liberal democratic paradigm. In order to assess this question, the thesis establishes under what conditions a liberal democracy may legitimately make a behavior a criminal offense. The result is that this is the case if the requirements of either the harm- or the offense-principle are fulfilled. In a second step, the thesis examines if the ban on fuel-intensive cars fulfills these requirements and concludes that the ban can be based on the harm-principle. As a last step, the thesis draws general conclusions from this example and holds that in principle, liberal democratic theory is open to a greener practice. However, this requires some thought and development of the paradigm with regard to the human relationship to non-human nature.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. , 37 p.
Examensarbete vid Institutionen för geovetenskaper, ISSN 1650-6553 ; 236
Keyword [en]
Sustainable Development, Liberal Democracy, Legal philosophy, Harm-principle, Non-identity problem, Environmental Ethics
National Category
Earth and Related Environmental Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-254792OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-254792DiVA: diva2:819693
Educational program
Master Programme in Sustainable Development
2015-06-01, Geocentrum, Villavägen 16, Uppsala, 11:45 (English)
Available from: 2015-06-11 Created: 2015-06-11 Last updated: 2015-06-11Bibliographically approved

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