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On the Merits and Limits of Nationalising the Fossil Fuel Industry

Green, Fergus; Robeyns, Ingrid; (2022) On the Merits and Limits of Nationalising the Fossil Fuel Industry. Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement , 91 pp. 53-80. 10.1017/s1358246122000030. Green open access

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Abstract

We explore the desirability of an idea that has not received the attention it deserves by political philosophers: that governments should bring privately-owned fossil fuel companies into public ownership with a view to managing their wind-down in the public interest – often simply referred to as ‘nationalising the fossil fuel industry’. We aim to make a conditional case for public ownership of fossil fuel companies. We will assume certain conditions about government motivations and capacities that are similar to assumptions made generally in the philosophical and economic analysis of climate policies: that the government is suitably motivated, has effective control over the companies it acquires, and is able to sustain this motivation and control for long-enough to wind-down acquired companies in the public interest. We argue that bringing fossil fuel companies into public ownership, under these conditions, allows the government to take ten actions that are in the public interest, which will enhance social justice, enable a fair division of burdens and benefits, and strengthen democracy. We consider four plausible objections. While some of these point to the need for further research, they do not undermine our claim that nationalising the fossil fuel industry is a policy option that merits serious consideration.

Type: Article
Title: On the Merits and Limits of Nationalising the Fossil Fuel Industry
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1017/s1358246122000030
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1017/s1358246122000030
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of Political Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10146601
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