New article published!

Baard, P., & Melin, A., 2022. Max Power: Implementing the Capabilities Approach to Identify Thresholds and Ceilings in Energy Justice, Science and Engineering Ethics.

In this article Patrik Baard and Anders Melin investigate the capabilities approach, supplemented with ceilings, applied to energy justice. Available open access:

ABSTRACT: In this paper, we apply the capabilities approach—with the addition of capability ceilings—to energy justice. We argue that, to ensure energy justice, energy policies and scenarios should consider enabling not only minimal capability thresholds but also maximum capability ceilings. It is permissible, perhaps even morally required, to limit the capabilities of those above the threshold if it is necessary for enabling those below the threshold to reach the level required by justice. We make a distinction between tragic and non-tragic conflicts of capabilities: tragic conflicts are instances when one cannot raise an agent’s capabilities above the threshold that justice requires without pushing someone else below the threshold or restricting someone from reaching the threshold. In contrast, a non-tragic choice is when increasing someone above the threshold required by justice does not entail pushing someone else’s capabilities below the threshold. We utilise this framework to discuss energy justice and emissions of greenhouse gases. Drawing on the relation between points on the human development index and levels of energy consumption, we conclude that non-tragic mitigation policies now are highly preferable to tragic policies later.