Responsibility and Climate-induced Displacement

Keywords: climate change, migration, responsibility, global justice,

Abstract

This paper addresses the phenomenon of climate-induced displacement. I argue that there is scope for an account of asylum as compensation owed to those displaced by the impacts of climate change which needs only to appeal to minimal normative commitments about the requirements of global justice. I demonstrate the possibility of such an approach through an examination of the work of David Miller. Miller is taken as an exemplar of a broadly ‘international libertarian’ approach to global justice, and his work is a useful vehicle for this project because he has an established view about both responsibility for climate change and about the state’s right to exclude would-be immigrants. In the course of the argument, I set out the relevant aspects of Miller’s views, reconstruct an account of responsibility for the harms faced by climate migrants which is consistent with Miller’s views, and demonstrate why such an account yields an obligation to provide asylum as a form of compensation to ‘climate migrants.’

Author Biography

Jamie Draper, University of Reading
Leverhulme Doctoral Scholar in Climate Justice, Department of Politics and International Relations

References

Biermann, F. and Boas, I. (2010) ‘Preparing for a Warmer World: Towards a Global Governance System to Protect Climate Refugees,’ Global Environmental Politics 10 (1), pp. 60–88.

Black, R., Adger, W.N., Dercon, S., Geddes A. and Thomas, D. (2011) Foresight: Migration and Global Environmental Change. London: The Government Office for Science. Available at <https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/migration-and-global-environmental-change-future-challenges-and-opportunities> (Accessed 9 August 2018).

Blake, M. (2001) ‘Distributive Justice, State Coercion, and Autonomy’, Philosophy & Public Affairs 30 (3), pp. 257-296.

Bosniak, L. (1991) ‘Human Rights, State Sovereignty and Protection of Migrant Workers under the International Migrant Workers Convention’, The International Migration Review 25 (4), pp. 737-770.

Butt, D. (2009) Rectifying International Injustice: Principles of Compensation and Restitution Between Nations. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Byravan, S. and Rajan, S.C. (2010) ‘The Ethical Implications of Sea-Level Rise Due to Climate Change’, Ethics & International Affairs 24 (3), pp. 239–260.

Carens, J. (2013) The Ethics of Immigration. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Cherem, M. (2016) ‘Refugee Rights: Against Expanding the Definition of a “Refugee” and Unilateral Protection Elsewhere’, Journal of Political Philosophy 24 (2), pp. 183-205.

Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees (1951) available at <http://www.unhcr.org/uk/3b66c2aa10> (Accessed 9 August 2018).

De-Shalit, A. (2011) ‘Climate Change Refugees, Compensation, and Rectification’, The Monist 94 (3), pp. 310–328.

Feinberg, J. (1984) The Moral Limits of Criminal Law, Volume 1: Harm to Others. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Fine, S. (2013) ‘The Ethics of Immigration: Self-Determination and the Right to Exclude’, Philosophy Compass 8 (3), pp. 254-268.

Gibney, M. (2004) The Ethics and Politics of Asylum: Liberal Democracy and the Response to Refugees. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Heyward, C. and Ödalen, J. (2016) ‘A Passport for the Territorially Dispossessed’, in Heyward, C. and Roser, D. (eds.) Climate Justice in a Non-Ideal World. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) (1990) Climate Change: The IPCC Impacts Assessment. Geneva. Available at <http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/publications_ipcc_first_assessment_1990_wg2.shtml> (Accessed 9 August 2018)

Lister, M. (2013) ‘Who are Refugees?’, Law and Philosophy 32 (5), pp. 645-671.

Lister, M. (2014) ‘Climate Change Refugees’, Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy 17 (5), pp. 618-634.

McAdam, J. (2011) ‘Swimming Against the Tide: Why a Climate Displacement Treaty is Not the Answer’, International Journal of Refugee Law 23 (1), pp. 2-27.

McLeman, R. and Smit, B. (2006) ‘Migration as an Adaptation to Climate Change’, Climatic Change 76 (1-2), pp. 31-53.

Miller, D. (1995) On Nationality. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

Miller, D. (2007) National Responsibility and Global Justice. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Miller, D. (2008) ‘Global justice and climate change: How should responsibilities be distributed?’ Tanner Lectures on Human Values 28, pp. 117–56.

Miller, D. (2016) Strangers in Our Midst: The Political Philosophy of Immigration. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Moore, M. (2008) ‘Global Justice, Climate Change, and Miller’s Theory of Responsibility’, Critical Review of International Social and Political Theory 11 (4), pp. 501-517.

Nagel, T. (2005) ‘The Problem of Global Justice’, Philosophy & Public Affairs 33 (2), pp. 113-147.

Nawrotzki, R.J. (2014) ‘Climate Migration and Moral Responsibility’, Ethics, Policy and Environment 17 (1), pp. 69–87.

O’Neill, O. (1987) ‘Rights to Compensation’, Social Philosophy and Policy 5 (1) (1987), pp. 72–87.

Piguet, E. (2010) ‘Linking climate change, environmental degradation, and migration: a methodological overview’, Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Climate Change 1 (4), pp. 517–524.

Pogge, T. (2002) World Poverty and Human Rights. Cambridge: Polity.

Price, M. (2009) Rethinking Asylum: History, Purpose, Limits. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Rawls, J. (1999) The Law of Peoples: with ‘the Idea of Public Reason Revisited’. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Risse, M. (2005) ‘How Does the Global Order Harm the Poor?’, Philosophy & Public Affairs 33 (4), pp. 349-376.

Sangiovanni, A. (2007) ‘Global Justice, Reciprocity, and the State’, Philosophy & Public Affairs 35 (1), pp. 3-39.

Satz, D. (2005) ‘What Do We Owe the Global Poor?’, Ethics & International Affairs 19 (1), pp. 47-54.

Scheffler, S. (2001) Boundaries and Allegiances: Problems of Justice and Responsibility in Liberal Thought. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Shacknove, A. (1985) ‘Who Is a Refugee?’, Ethics 95 (2), pp. 274–284.

Skinner, Q. (2009) ‘A Genealogy of the Modern State’, Proceedings of the British Academy 162.

Souter, J. (2014) ‘Towards a Theory of Asylum as Reparation for Past Injustice’, Political Studies 62 (2), pp. 326–342.

Thompson, J. (2002) Taking Responsibility for the Past: Reparation and Historical Injustice. Cambridge: Polity, 2002.

Vaha, M. (2015) ‘Drowning Under: Small Island States and the Right to Exist’, Journal of International Political Theory 11 (2), pp. 206-223.

Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties (1969), available at <https://treaties.un.org/doc/publication/unts/volume%201155/volume-1155-i-18232-english.pdf> (Accessed 9 August 2018).

Wellman, C.H. (2008) ‘Immigration and Freedom of Association’, Ethics 119 (1), pp. 109-141.

Published
2019-11-25