We look at climate change as a technical and management issue. But it is also a matter of ethics, argues Ingrid Robeyns, Professor of Ethics of Institutions at Utrecht University.
This blog was published on 21 August 2018 on the climate blog of the NRC.
Imagine a village with a communal pond where all the villagers are allowed to fish. To maintain the fish stocks, the villagers may collectively catch a specified maximum amount. There is not a lot of fish to go around, but there is no need for anyone to go hungry. What would then be the fairest way to divide the catch?
The first way that springs to mind, is to give everyone a more or less equal share, perhaps with a little extra for pregnant women and children. If some villagers then took ten times more than they are entitled to, we would consider it unfair. After all, there would not be enough left for the others.