Aristotle & Environmental Ethics

  • IASbaba
  • April 3, 2021
  • 0
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  • GS-4: Ethics & Justice
  • GS-3: Environment and Conservation

Aristotle & Environmental Ethics

The Nicomachean Ethics is the name normally given to Aristotle’s best-known work on ethics

In Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle distinguished three forms of justice, namely distributive, commutative and corrective.

Distributive justice 

  • It pertains to how resources should be distributed in terms of principles of equality, equity and merit.
  • Climate action of major developed countries is incompatible with the goals of the Paris Agreement. 
  • It is only a few developing countries, including India, who are taking adequate climate action. 
  • Therefore, the focus should be on ensuring ambitious climate action by developed countries in the near-term to ensure distributive climate justice in the implementation of the Paris Agreement.

Commutative justice 

  • It refers to agreements or commitments, and other kinds of social contracts.
  • In the climate change discourse, it would refer to the honouring of past commitments in good faith.
  • The developed country delivery of finance, technology transfer, and capacity building support to developing countries is not up to the mark. 
  • They are not even close to meeting their climate finance goal of jointly mobilising at least $100 billion per year by 2020 to support climate action in developing countries. 
  • The fulfilment of these past commitments would be a critical precursor to any enhancement of climate ambition by developing countries.

Corrective justice 

  • It pertains to the righting of wrongs.
  • Climate justice demands that every individual who is born on this earth has a right to development and dignified living. 
  • For this, developed countries need to repay the climate debt by shouldering greater mitigation responsibilities and providing finance, technology and capacity building support to safeguard the interest of the poor and vulnerable people in developing countries.

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