Distributive Energy Justice and the Common Good
Recently, philosophers and social scientists have shown increased interest in questions of social, global, and intergenerational distributive justice related to energy production and consumption. However, so far there have been only a few attempts to analyse questions of distributive energy justice from a religious point of view, which should be considered a lack since religions are an important basis of morality for a large part of the world’s population. In this article, I analyse issues of distributive energy justice from a Christian theological viewpoint by employing the Catholic common good tradition as a theoretical framework. First, I present and argue for a global and ecological interpretation of the Catholic common good tradition. Then I analyse the implications of such an interpretation on questions of distributive energy justice, focusing on the view of property rights within the Catholic common good tradition. I conclude that, in comparison with Nussbaum’s liberal capabilities approach, the common good tradition provides stronger reasons for individuals and groups in more economically developed countries to share their resources and knowledge with individuals and groups in less economically developed countries.
Aquinas, Thomas. Summa Theologica (translated by fathers of the English Dominican Province). Notre Dame, IN: Ave Maria Press, 1948.
Barbieri, William A., Jr. ‘Beyond the Nations: The Expansion of the Common Good in Catholic Social Thought’, The Review of Politics, 63:4 (Autumn, 2001), pp. 723-754. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/S0034670500032149
Baxter, Brian. A Theory of Ecological Justice. New York: Routledge, 2005. DOI: https://doi.org/10.4324/9780203458495
Bergmann, Sigurd. Religion, Space, and the Environment. New Brunswick, London: Transaction Publishers, 2014.
Claassen, Rutger. ‘The Capability to Hold Property’, Journal of Human Development and Capabilities, 16:2 (2015), pp. 220-236.
Colllins, M., R. Knutti, J. Arblaster, J.-L. Dufresne, T. Fichefet, P. Friedlingstein, X. Gao, W.J. Gutowski, T. Johns, G. Krinner, M. Shongwe, C. Tebaldi, A.J. Weaver and M. Wehner, ‘Long-term Climate Change: Projections, Commitments and Irreversibility’, in Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science Basis. Contributions of Working Group 1 to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, edited by T.F. Stocker, D. Qin, G.-K. Plattner, M. Tignor, S.K. Allen, J. Boschung, A. Nauels, Y. Xia, V. Bex, P.M. Midgley. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 2013.
Crofts, Richard A. ‘The Common Good in the Political Theory of Thomas Aquinas’, The Thomist: A Speculative Quarterly Review, 37:1 (January 1973), pp. 155-173. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1353/tho.1973.0072
Day, Rosie, Gordon Walker, Neil Simcock, ‘Conceptualising energy use and energy policy using a capabilities framework’, Energy Policy 93 (2016), pp. 255-264.
DeCrane, Susanne M. Aquinas, Feminism, and the Common Good. Washington, D.C.: Georgetown University Press, 2004.
Deifelt, Wanda. ‘Seeking the Common Good: Lutheran Contributions to Global Citizenship’, Intersections, 29 (2009), pp. 22-27.
Francis. Evangelii Gaudium. 2013.
Francis. Laudato Si. 2015.
Hart, John. Sacramental Commons: Christian Ecological Ethics. Lanham, MA: Rowman & Littlefield 2006.
Hehir, J. Bryan. ‘The modern Catholic Church and human rights’ in Christianity and Human Rights: An Introduction, edited by John Witte, Jr., Frank S. Alexander. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 2010, pp. 113-134.
Heinberg, Richard and David Fridley. Our Renewable Future: Laying the Path for One Hundred Percent Clean Energy. Washington, D.C.: IslandPress 2016. DOI: https://doi.org/10.5822/978-1-61091-780-3
Hollenbach, David. The Common Good and Christian Ethics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 2002. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511606380
Hussain, Waheed. ‘The Common Good’ in Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, edited by Edward N. Zalta (published 2018-02-26).
IPPC, 2014: Summary for policymakers, In: Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability. Par A: Global and Sectoral Aspects. Contribution of Working Group II to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, edited by C.B. Field, V.R. Barros, D.J. Dokken, K.J. Mach, M.D. Mastrandea, T.E. Bilir, M. Chatterjee, K.L. Ebi, Y.O. Estrada, R.C. Genova, B. Girma, E.S. Kissel, A.N. Levy, S. MacCracken, P.R. Mastrandea, and L.L. White. Cambridge, UK and New York: Cambridge University Press.
John XXIII. Pacem in Terris, 1963. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/00396336308440402
John Paul II. Laborem Exercens, 1981.
John Paul II. Centesimus Annus, 1991.
John Paul II. Sollicitudo Rei Socialis, 1987.
Kander, Astrid, Paolo Malanima, Paul Warde. Power to the People: Energy in Europe over the Last Five Centuries. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2013.
Keys, Mary M. Aquinas, Aristotle and the Promise of the Common Good. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008.
Koterski, Joseph. ‘Human Nature from a Catholic Perspective’, American Journal of Economics and Sociology, 71:4 (2012), pp. 809-839.
Langan, John, S.J. ’Common Good’, in A New Dictionary of Christian Ethics, edited by John Macquarrie, James Childress. London: SCM Press, 1986, p. 102.
Lavere, George J. ‘The problem of the common good in Saint Augustine’s Civitas Terrena’, Augustinian Studies, 14 (1983), pp. 1-10.
Leo XIII. Rerum Novarum. 1891.
Long, Steven A. ‘Understanding the Common Good’. Nova et Vetera, 16:4 (2018), pp. 1135-1152.
Lustig, B. Andrew. ‘Property and Justice in the Modern Encyclical Literature’, The Harvard Theological Review, 83:4 (Oct 1990), pp. 415-446. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/S0017816000023877
Maritain, Jacques. Man and the State. Chicago: University of Chicago Press 1951.
Mount, Eric, Jr. Covenant, Community, and the Common Good: An Interpretation of Christian Ethics. Cleveland, OH: Pilgrim Press, 1999.
Murray, John Courtney. We Hold These Truths: Catholic Reflections on the American Proposition. New York: Sheed and Ward 1960.
Myers, Benjamin. ‘Rights, Resistance and the Common Good: Calvin’s Political Theology’, Uniting Church Studies,17:1 (2011), pp. 33-43.
Nussbaum, Martha C. Women and Human Development: The Capabilities Approach, Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press 2000. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511841286
Nussbaum, Martha C. Frontiers of Justice: Disability, Nationality, Species Membership. Cambridge, MA, London, UK: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press 2006.
Nussbaum, Martha C. ‘Chapter 14: Human Dignity and Political Entitlements’, in Human Dignity and Bioethics: Essays Commisioned by the President’s Council on Bioethics. Washington, D.C.: 2008.
Nussbaum, Martha C. Creating Capabilities: The Human Development Approach. Cambridge, MA: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press 2011.
Oderberg, David S. ”The Metaphysical Foundations of Natural Law” in Natural Moral Law in Contemporary Society, edited by Holger Zaborowski. Washington, D.C.: Catholic University of America Press, 2010, pp. 44-75. DOI: https://doi.org/10.2307/j.ctt2852bf.6
Pally, Marcia. The New Evangelicals: Expanding the Vision of the Common Good. Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2011
Paul VI. Gaudium et Spes. 1965.
Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, 2004.
Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace. Energy, Justice, and Peace: A Reflection on Energy in the Current Context of Development and Environmental Protection. New York: Paulist Press 2014.
Rasmussen, Larry L. ‘Energy: the Challenges to and from Religion’, Zygon, 46:4 (December 2011), pp. 985-1002. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9744.2011.01224.x
Scheid, Daniel P. The Cosmic Common Good: Religious Grounds for Ecological Ethics. Oxford: Oxford University Press 2016. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199359431.001.0001
Schweiker, William (ed.). The Blackwell Companion to Religious Ethics. Malden, MA: Blackwell 2008. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1002/9780470997031.ch1
Sovacool, Benjamin K. Energy & Ethics: Justice and the Global Energy Challenge. New York: Palgrave Macmillan 2013.
Sovacool, Benjamin K., Michael H. Dworkin. Global Energy Justice: Problems, Principles, and Practices. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2014. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9781107323605
Spieker, Manfried. ‘The Universal Destination of Goods: The Ethics of Property in the Theory of a Christian Society’, Journal of Markets & Morality, 8:2 (Fall 2005), pp. 333-354.
Taebi, Behnam and Sabine Roeser (eds.). The Ethics of Nuclear Energy: Risk, Justice, and Democracy in the post-Fukushima Era. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 2015. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9781107294905
The webpage of the International Energy Agency, https://www.iea.org/energyaccess/ (accessed 2018-06-20).
Thomson, Harriet, Carolyn Snell, Stefan Bouzarovski. ‘Health, Well-Being and Energy Poverty in Europe: A Comparative Study of 32 European Countries’, International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 14, 584, 2017, pp. 1-20. DOI: https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14060584
United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division. World Population Prospects: the 2017 Revision, Key Findings and Advance Tables, Working Paper No. ESA/P/WP/248. UN: New York 2017.
Copyright (c) 2020 Anders Melin
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.