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Intergenerational justice: a framework for addressing intellectual property rights and climate change

Forrest, H and Lawrence, P ORCID: 0000-0003-3407-3446 2018 , 'Intergenerational justice: a framework for addressing intellectual property rights and climate change', in M Rimmer (ed.), Intellectual Property and Clean Energy: The Paris Agreement and Climate Justice , Springer-Verlag, Switzerland.

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At first blush, one may wonder what contribution normative theory can make to what seems to be such a technical/political issue as the role of intellectual property rights (IPRs) in the global climate change regime. There are two answers to this. Firstly, as eloquently put by Joe Bowersox,“... normative theory… can be a powerful diagnostic tool for evaluating public policy; it can act as an altimeter, if you will, that checks the thinness of the theoretical air surrounding a particular policy mountain or molehill, telling us whether there is enough oxygen present to support political life. Sometimes theory may even suggest that we try an alternative, less precipitous policy pass by which to cross to the other side.” Conceptions about justice - can provide a valuable framework in terms of ensuring that policy prescriptions are well directed, particularly given that economic policy discourse can bury ethical assumptions. This broader picture, can provide a valuable point of reference in the highly technical debates relating to intellectual property rights and climate change. A second reason for turning to normative theory is the reality that environmental treaties will not be agreed to without at least overlapping conceptions of fairness. This provides a practical motivation for interrogating more deeply justice discourses involved in the climate change negotiations. To the extent that the current global climate regime is inadequate, shared understandings of justice are a crucial precondition for reforming and making more effective the current climate change regime.

Item Type: Book Section
Authors/Creators:Forrest, H and Lawrence, P
Publisher: Springer-Verlag
DOI / ID Number: 10.1007/978-981-13-2155-9_6
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Copyright 2018 Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd.

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