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Bringing Politics into SAI*

  • Sikina Jinnah and Douglas Bushey
Abstract

In order to advance a neatly deductive argument, Christopher J. Preston must make a number of assumptions and framing decisions that exclude important practical points from the scope of his analysis. We do not criticize him for doing so, as these simplifications allow him to advance a concise argument about an ethically complex subject. However, as scholars of politics and law, we are interested in what this ethical argument means—and does not mean—for the messy politics of climate engineering. Accordingly, in our response we unpack the political implications of some of Preston's assumptions and framing decisions in an effort to add a layer of practical richness to the abstraction of Preston's analysis.

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This essay is in response to Christopher J. Preston's “Carbon Emissions, Stratospheric Aerosol Injection, and Unintended Harms,” Ethics & International Affairs 31, no. 4 (2017). The opinions expressed in this response are those of the authors personally, and do not reflect the views of the Environmental Protection Agency or the U.S. government.

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NOTES

1 See, for example, California Penal Code § 188 (passed 1872). Available at leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/codes_displaySection.xhtml?lawCode=PEN&sectionNum=188.

2 This question is complicated by the fact that different publics utilize different systemic practices by which a nation's citizens come to know things in common and to apply their knowledge to the conduct of politics. See Jasanoff, Sheila, Designs on Nature: Science and Democracy in Europe and the United States (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 2005).

3 See Miller, Clark, “Democratization, International Knowledge Institutions, and Global Governance,” Governance 20, no. 2 (2007), pp. 325–57.

4 In the context of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, discussions about responsibility for the distributional impacts of climate change and of responses thereto are often framed in terms of the principle of Common but Differentiated Responsibilities. See Bushey, Douglas and Jinnah, Sikina, “Evolving Responsibility? The Principle of Common but Differentiated Responsibility in the UNFCCC,” Berkeley Journal of International Law, Publicist 6 (2010).

5 We note that the intended effects of SAI are also likely to produce “increases in standards of living”—just mediated through the climate system as opposed to the energy provision system.

* This essay is in response to Christopher J. Preston's “Carbon Emissions, Stratospheric Aerosol Injection, and Unintended Harms,” Ethics & International Affairs 31, no. 4 (2017). The opinions expressed in this response are those of the authors personally, and do not reflect the views of the Environmental Protection Agency or the U.S. government.

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Ethics & International Affairs
  • ISSN: 0892-6794
  • EISSN: 1747-7093
  • URL: /core/journals/ethics-and-international-affairs
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