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National interests and global justice at Copenhagen

By David Goodhart   November 2009

To whom do we owe obligations? With whom do we feel solidarity? These are two of the oldest questions in politics, but they are posed in a stark new way by the fallout from climate change. Most people in rich countries feel a vague sense of obligation and even empathy towards those struggling to get by in poor countries, but they practise a much stronger sense of “fellow citizen favouritism” towards the people in their own nations. And it is good that they do. Without such favouritism there would be no point to the nation state. This does not, however,…

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