Non-Ideal Theory in Climate Agreements


  • Ushana Jayasuriya Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand



Non-ideal theory, Climate justice, Obligations, Development, Innovation


My research explores climate justice and non-ideal theory. Using Laura Valentini’s conception of non-ideal theory, this is applied to the distribution of climate mitigation obligations, with a particular focus on the common but differentiated responsibilities of developed and developing countries. I wish to evaluate this distribution of obligations and determine whether it is an effective method of climate change mitigation, with consideration to non-ideal elements of partial or non-compliance. Climate change is one of the biggest challenges faced by the international community, and it is a problem that requires collective action. However, due to ineffective international agreements and a lack of willingness to alter lifestyles, this action is often not achieved. Agreements commonly result in targets that are not sufficient to exact the change required, instead representing only the states’ willingness to mitigate the destructive aspects of climate change while maintaining economic growth. I suggest that a shift in focus is required to obtain relevant and effective agreements that will reach the required targets. I propose that an Ability to Pay approach and a turn to investment incentives may result in more favourable outcomes. Recent climate agreements have focused more on the investment in clean energy and sharing of resources, however, I argue that this needs to be taken further in order to achieve the collective goal of mitigating climate change.

Biografia do Autor

Ushana Jayasuriya, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand

I am currently a Scientia PhD candidate at the University of New South Wales, Australia. My research interests are primarily within the field of climate justice, with my current research focusing on the concept of the just transition. This paper relates to research from my MA in Philosophy from Victoria University of Wellington. I would like to thank Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand and Graduate Women Wellington for their generous funding that made my MA research possible.


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