Professor Henry Shue

Emeritus Fellow

Henry Shue, Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for International Studies [CIS] of the Department of Politics and International Relations, Professor Emeritus of Politics and International Relations, and Senior Research Fellow Emeritus at Merton is best-known for his book, Basic Rights, (Princeton 1980; 2nd edition, 1996; 40th anniversary edition with new chapter on climate change, 2020); for his articles, 'Torture' (1978) and 'Subsistence Emissions and Luxury Emissions' (1993); and for pioneering the sub-field of International Normative Theory, which he taught as an optional subject in the MPhil in International Relations from 2002 until his retirement from teaching. He studied at Merton from 1961-1964 as a Rhodes Scholar. In 1976 he was a co-founder of the Institute for Philosophy and Public Policy at the University of Maryland and later became the inaugural Wyn and William Y Hutchinson Professor of Ethics & Public Life at Cornell University. His research has focused on the role of human rights, especially economic rights, in international affairs and, more generally, on institutions to protect the vulnerable.

Specifically, after work on the morality of strategies for nuclear weapons in the 1980s, his writing during the 1990s turned mainly to the issues of justice arising in international negotiations over climate change. During the first decade of the 2000s his writing concentrated on the two primary aspects of war: the resort to war, especially preventive military attacks ['preemption'], and the conduct of war, especially the bombing of 'dual-use' infrastructure like electricity-generating facilities. Most of his work on climate change has appeared as Climate Justice: Vulnerability and Protection (Oxford 2014), and most of the writing on violence appears as Fighting Hurt: Rule and Exception in Torture and War (Oxford 2016).

Now he is working primarily on explanations for the urgency of far more ambitious policies to eliminate fossil fuels in order to avoid irreversible damage to future generations.


Publications on Climate Change

Henry Shue, The Pivotal Generation: Why We Have A Moral Responsibility to Slow Climate Change Right Now (Princeton and Woodstock: Princeton University Press, 2021).

Philosophical Articles

  1. "Unseen Urgency: Delay as the New Denial," WIREs Climate Change, Online Open Access.
  2. "Distant Strangers and the Illusion of Separation: Climate, Development, and Disaster", in Thom Brooks (ed.), Oxford Handbook of Global Justice (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2020).
  3. "Subsistence Protection and Mitigation Ambition: Necessities, Climatic and Economic", British Journal of Politics and International Relations, 'Breakthrough Article', published online 19 February 2019.
  4. "Climate Surprises: Risk Transfers, Negative Emissions, and the Pivotal Generation".
  5. "Mitigation gambles: uncertainty, urgency and the last gamble possible"Phil. Trans. R. Soc. A, volume 376, issue 2119 (13 May 2018).
  6. "Climate dreaming: negative emissions, risk transfer, and irreversibility"Journal of Human Rights and the Environment, 8 (2017), 203-216.
  7. "High Stakes: Inertia or Transformation?", Midwest Studies in Philosophy, XL (2016), 63-75.
  8. "Uncertainty as the Reason for Action: Last Opportunity and Future Climate Disaster", Global Justice: Theory Practice Rhetoric, special issue on Global Justice and Climate Change, 9 (2016), 86-103.
  9. "Mitigation: First Imperative of Environmental Ethics", Stephen M. Gardiner and Allen Thompson (eds.), Oxford Handbook of Environmental Ethics (New York: Oxford University Press, 2016), s.v.
  10. "Last Opportunities: Future Human Rights Generate Urgent Present Duties", in Global Policy Journal, special issue, Marcello di Paola and Daanika Kamal (eds.), Climate Change and Human Rights: The 2015 Paris Conference and the Task of Protecting People on a Warming Planet.
  11. "Share Benefits and Burdens Equitably", Mary Robinson Foundation – Climate Justice.
  12. "Historical Responsibility, Harm Prohibition, and Preservation Requirement: Core Practical Convergence on Climate Change", Moral Philosophy and Politics, 2 (2015), 7-31. DOI:10.1515/mop-2013-0009. Published online: 30/9/2014.
  13. "Transboundary Damage in Climate Change: Criteria for Allocating Responsibility,” in André Nollkaemper & Dov Jacobs (eds.), Distribution of Responsibilities in International Law (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015), 321-340.
  14. "Changing Images of Climate Change: Human Rights and Future Generations", Journal of Human Rights and the Environment, 5 (2014), 50-64; reprinted in Anna Grear and Conor Gearty (eds.), Choosing A Future: The Social and Legal Aspects of Climate Change (Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar, 2014), 50-64.
  15. "Climate Hope: Implementing the Exit Strategy", Chicago Journal of International Law, 13:2 (Winter 2013), 381-402.
  16. "Human Rights, Climate Change, and the Trillionth Ton", in Denis G. Arnold (ed.), The Ethics of Global Climate Change (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011), 292-314.
  17. "Deadly Delays, Saving Opportunities: Creating a More Dangerous World?" in Climate Ethics: Essential Readings, ed. by Stephen M. Gardiner, Simon Caney, Dale Jamieson, and Henry Shue (Oxford University Press, 2010), 146-62.
  18. "Responsibility to Future Generations and the Technological Transition," in Perspectives on Climate Change: Science, Economics, Politics, Ethics, ed. by Walter Sinnott-Armstrong and Richard B. Howarth (Amsterdam and San Diego: Elsevier, 2005), pp. 265-83.
  19. "A Legacy of Danger: The Kyoto Protocol and Future Generations," in Globalisation and Equality, ed. by Keith Horton and Haig Patapan (London and New York: Routledge, 2004), pp. 164-78.
  20. "Climate," in A Companion to Environmental Philosophy, ed. by Dale Jamieson (Malden, Mass.: Blackwell Pubs., 2001), pp. 449-59.
  21. "Global Environment and International Inequality", International Affairs, vol. 75, no. 3 (1999), pp. 531-45.  Reprinted in Climate Ethics, ed. by Gardiner, Caney, Jamieson, and Shue.
  22. "Bequeathing Hazards: Security Rights and Property Rights of Future Humans," in Global Environmental Economics: Equity and the Limits to Markets, ed. by Mohammed Dore and Timothy Mount (Malden, Mass.: Blackwell Pubs., 1998), pp. 38-53.
  23. "Environmental Change and the Varieties of Justice," in Earthly Goods: Environmental Change and Social Justice, edited by Fen Osler Hampson and Judith Reppy (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1996), pp. 9-29.
  24. "Avoidable Necessity: Global Warming, International Fairness, and Alternative Energy," in Theory and Practice, NOMOS XXXVII, edited by Ian Shapiro and Judith Wagner DeCew (New York: NYU Press, 1995), pp. 239-64.
  25. "After You: May Action by the Rich Be Contingent Upon Action by the Poor?" Indiana Journal of Global Legal Studies, 1:2 (1994), pp. 343-66.
  26. "Subsistence Emissions and Luxury Emissions," Law & Policy, 15:1 (January 1993), pp. 39-59. Reprinted in Climate Ethics, ed. by Gardiner, Caney, Jamieson, and Shue.
  27. "The Unavoidability of Justice," in The International Politics of the Environment: Actors, Interests, and Institutions, edited by Andrew Hurrell and Benedict Kingsbury (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1992), pp. 373-97.

Accessible Presentations

  1. "Keynote Presentation," ECOSOC Special Event on "The right to development and global partnership for development," Palais des Nations, Geneva, 12 July 2011 [carbon budget and sustainable development]
    PDF link
  2. "Face Reality? After You! A Call for Leadership on Climate Change", Ethics & International Affairs, 25:1 (2011), 17-26. [U.S. duty to lead]
  3. "Historical Responsibility", Technical Briefing for Ad Hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action under the Convention [AWG-LCA], SBSTA, UNFCC, Bonn, 4 June 2009
    PDF Link
  4. "Equity," in Encyclopedia of Global Environmental Change, vol. 5: Social and Economic Dimensions of Global Environmental Change (Chichester: John Wiley & Sons, 2002), pp. 279-83.
  5. "Equity in International Agreements on Climate Change," in Proceedings of IPCC Workshop: Nairobi, July 1994 (Nairobi: ICIPE Science Press, 1995), pp. 385-92.