Well-being and future generations

IPCC has said that beside the greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, the so-called discount rate in welfare economy is most important when discussing future effects of climate change. Emissions of hazardous greenhouse gases today harm people who do not yet exist, and we must develop sustainable both political and economic strategies that reduce damage in the future. But when climate change threatens human welfare across the globe, in both near and distant future, we also need a concept of well-being that reflects such a large scope. This article discusses which concept of well-being that best yields moral obligations across generations. The concept of well-being argued for in the article will thus also have something specific to say about climate economy and sustainable development.

Keywords: Climate change, future generations, well-being, sustainability, preference utilitarianism, objectivity, capability theory