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Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - IRI THESys

The Ethics of Carbon Pricing

Lukas is a doctoral researcher at the Department of Philosophy at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. His main research interests are climate ethics, the ethics of human-animal relations and the ethics of future generations.

This doctoral thesis aims to contribute to a better understanding of carbon pricing, one of the most prominent tools for the mitigation of climate change. Emissions trading and carbon taxation, the two most widely discussed ways to price greenhouse gas emissions, will almost certainly feature prominently in any future climate change mitigation proposal and already have played a major role in climate politics during the last two decades. Given that carbon pricing will be an important part of climate policy, there is a strong imperative to understand its implications as well as possible. While there is a significant body of economical research on the topic, the philosophic literature is rather sparse.

- What are the normative implications of carbon pricing?

- Is it intrinsically problematic from a moral point of view?

Photo: Lukas Tank

- Is it likely to have unwanted consequences that are so grave as to make the policy morally impermissible all things considered?


These questions, while not wholly ignored by the philosophical literature, are in need of a more in-depth discussion. Based on the methods of analytic philosophy, I will discuss some of the most important arguments for and against carbon pricing. My aim in doing so is not to build the best case for or against carbon pricing, but provide the kind of nuanced discussion that is appropriate for a topic of such far-reaching importance.


Lukas graduated in Philosophy from Humboldt-Universität (M.A.) in 2017, where he also worked as a student assistant for Prof. Kirsten Meyer. Between the conclusion of his M.A. studies and the beginning of his PhD he worked as a research assistant and guest researcher at IRI THESys. He was a member of the 2nd generation of the Deutschlandstipendium Themenklasse “Nachhaltigkeit & Globale Gerechtigkeit”.


Photo: Lea Hanemann


Lukas Tank, Doctoral Researcher
THESys Graduate Program
Phone: +49 30 2093 66331
E-mail: tanklukx@hu-berlin.de