Coherent Identifier About this item: 20.500.12592/k79qjn

On Borrowed Time: Future Generations and the Net Zero Transition F

10 June 2022

Summary

27 For example, it refers to the “common 6 ON BORROWED TIME but differentiated responsibilities” framework under the Paris Agreement (whereby richer nations bear the greater proportion of the responsibility for emissions reductions); and it extensively discusses the “distributional impacts” of the transition within the UK.28 Finally, as discussed below, the Treasury is relatively pessimistic about. [...] Especially concerning the more distant future, and the more extreme risks, we simply don’t know.33 34 As uncertainty is (generally speaking) a reason for caution, this would justify the adoption of a more precautionary approach, meaning that we should discount the extreme risks and the long-term future less.35 The Treasury already accounts for such uncertainty in the long-run, but is more optimist. [...] In terms of the weight it places on the moral value of future generations, the Net Zero Review is much closer to a previous “review” – the 2006 Stern Review on the economics of climate change – than it is to existing UK policy as embodied in the Green Book.43 Compared to the Green Book, Stern adopted a much stronger moral attitude to future generations (namely the view that they have equal moral v. [...] The matter of how to pay is secondary to the above question of how much to pay: from the perspective of future generations, our first obligation is to spend enough to prevent dangerous climate change. [...] 47 Moreover, many argue that borrowing from the future to pay for net zero clearly violates the “polluter pays” principle – the notion that those who caused the mess should pay for cleaning it up.48 Borrowing from the future essentially makes the “polluted pay” instead.49 Under such circumstances, future generations would in effect be paying today’s generation to mitigate the costs of climate chan.

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