I’ve been meaning to comment on Jonathan H. Adler’s admirable efforts to start a dialogue with his right-leaning colleagues on the implications of climate change for property rights activists. (The capsule summary: Rich countries may be morally obliged to compensate folks in developing countries for the damage to their property caused by climate change.) Adler introduces the topic here, and the full dialogue at the Property and Environment Research Center is here.
Now Adler has run a response from the Sierra Club’s Carl Pope, that he responds to in turn.
I don’t have much of value to add to the dialogue. I find myself vaguely bewildered watching someone attempt to build a "normative case" for "direct investments addressing causes of mortality in these countries — disease, unsafe drinking water, lack of sanitation, lack of infrastructure, etc."
I do think there’s a self-interested, libertarian case to be made. Doing so would no doubt be a diverting intellectual exercise.
But that sort of quasi-Vulcan theorizing would just circle around to a moral principle that should be manifestly evident and require no such support: Where one finds widespread suffering, one ought to act to ameliorate it.