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Fourth 2022/2023 Groningen PPE Colloquium : Elizabeth Cripps (Edinburgh)

When:We 29-03-2023 15:15 - 17:00
Where:Faculty of Philosophy, Room Omega (followed by drinks)

Should We Have Kids in the Climate Emergency?

Abstract: This paper asks whether affluent persons have an individual climate justice duty to limit family size. This question is not only interesting (and practically salient) in itself, but forces careful attention to another question: just how demanding are our individual climate justice duties? The argument goes as follows. Should affluent couples and individuals have no biological children, because of the impact on carbon emissions? Not necessarily, because this requires extremely demanding individual emissions-cutting duties. Should anyone consider carbon footprint at all, in deciding how many kids to have? Yes, because individual emissions-cutting duties are more than trivially demanding. Should everyone ‘stop at’ some fixed maximum number of biological kids? Not unless that number is one, and we are prepared to accept both dangerous sociological assumptions and very demanding individual emissions-cutting duties. Do further individual duties follow from the uncomfortable fact that having a child is one of the highest-carbon-footprint decisions we can make? Yes. Three such are outlined.

Bio: Dr Elizabeth Cripps is a Senior Lecturer in Political Theory at the University of Edinburgh, with an MPhil and PhD in Philosophy from University College London. She has published widely in peer-reviewed outlets on climate ethics and justice, including her 2013 monograph: Climate Change and the Moral Agent: Individual Duties in an Interdependent World (OUP). She is the author of two philosophy books for a general audience: What Climate Justice Means and Why We Should Care (Bloomsbury, 2022) and the forthcoming Parenting on Earth: A Philosopher's Guide to Doing Right by Your Kids - and Everyone Else (MIT Press, 2023), and has written opinion pieces for the Guardian, the Herald and the Big Issue.


Twitter: @ebcripps

On 30 March, Elizabeth will host a Studium Generale Groningen (SGG) event WHAT CLIMATE JUSTICE MEANS And Why We Should Care in the Academy Building at 8 pm. More information in the link.