Fair Limits in the Anthropocene – What are the just boundaries of our ecological footprint?

20 February 2020 16:00 – 17:30

Bistro area (ground floor) – Vening Meineszgebouw A., Princetonlaan 8a, Utrecht, The Netherlands

Attendance open for all – registration is required and open via our website (Register here)

The Earth System Governance Speaker Series at Utrecht University is excited to host Prof. Ingrid Robeyns and Dr. Fergus Green as the first seminar speakers of 2020.

In this talk, Prof. Robeyns and Dr. Fergus Green will share their insights from the ongoing Fair Limits project, including how distributive justice can be thought of in terms of ecological resources and in the context of the Anthropocene. The talk is followed by a panel debate with Utrecht University’s Associate Professor Dr. Agni Kalfagianni as discussant.

Prof Dr. Robeyns and Dr. Green form part of the Fair Limits team, which examines questions about the distribution of economic and ecological resources from the perspective of contemporary normative political philosophy. Within this field, the topic of distributive justice has been central in order to discuss the minimal needs of persons and how to reduce inequalities. The Fair Limits project focuses on ‘limitarianism’ which holds the view that there should be upper limits to how many resources (valuable goods) it is morally permissible to have as a person. What could be the potential value of this perspective when applied to the context of the Anthropocene and the current climate crisis? Should we set upper limits on what quantity of greenhouse emissions is morally allowable to emit as a person, in order to decrease our ecological footprint? How could we justify such limits? What considerations might militate against individual-level limits?

These questions will be delved into further in an ensuing panel debate with Dr. Agni Kalfagianni as discussant and chaired by Dr. James Patterson, after the presentation of Prof Dr. Robeyns and Dr. Green.

The event will be followed by an informal drink for registered participants.

 About the speakers and discussant

Prof Dr. Ingrid Robeyns holds the chair in the Ethics of Institutions at the Ethics Institute of Utrecht University. Trained as an economist and philosopher, her research focuses on the capability approach, social justice, desirable institutional change and applied and non-ideal philosophy, as well as in the development of normative theories and methods that are needed to support this type of integrated research. She is directing the project Fair Limits, which examines questions in contemporary normative political philosophy. The project analyses if such view can be justified and supported by insights and engagement with other sciences.  Prof Dr. Robeyns is author of numerous publications and is currently serving as President-elect of the Human Development and Capability Association (HDCA). She served as the first director of the Dutch Research School of Philosophy (OZSW) and is a member of the KNAW Royal Academy.

Dr. Fergus Green is a Postdoctoral Researcher on the Fair Limits Project in the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies at Utrecht University, where he focuses on the political philosophy of ecological limits. This work integrates Fergus’ two main research streams: normative political theory, and the politics and governance of climate change. The latter stream of Fergus’ work has spanned more than a decade and included numerous professional roles—as a lawyer, a consultant, and a policy adviser to Professor Nicholas Stern—as well as research on topics such as international climate cooperation, the political-economic drivers of China’s greenhouse gas emissions, and the politics of phasing-out of fossil fuel supply. Working on climate change sparked Fergus’ interest in questions of policy transitions. Accordingly, his doctoral thesis explored an under-theorised topic in the philosophy of public policy: how governments should deal with the transitional losers from policy and legal reforms. Fergus has also written widely on climate-related topics in the print and online media, and his research has been quoted in publications such as The Economist and The New York Times.

Dr. Agni Kalfagianni is Associate Professor of the Transnational Sustainability Governance at the Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development. She specializes in the effectiveness, legitimacy, and ethical and justice considerations of private and transnational forms of governance in the sustainability domain. She was coordinating lead author of the 2018-2028 science plan of the Earth System Governance project and co-founder of the international Planetary Justice Taskforce. Dr Kalfagianni is (co)Editor-in-Chief of the Global Environmental Governance book series by Routledge, Associate Editor of the Earth System Governance journal, and member of the Editorial Board of International Environmental Agreements: Politics, Law and Economics and Agriculture and Human Values journals. Her work has appeared in numerous international peer-reviewed journals including Global Environmental Change, Journal of Business Ethics, Globalizations, and edited volumes with major university presses, such as the MIT Press.

The Earth System Governance Speaker Series at Utrecht University is part of the broader global network, the Earth System Governance Project, which is hosted by Utrecht’s Faculty of Geosciences.

We ask you to please register for the seminar on the following link