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Politics and International Relations (PIR): People


Elizabeth Cripps

Elizabeth Cripps
Dr Elizabeth Cripps
Senior Lecturer in Political Theory
Rm 3.30 Chrystal Macmillan Building 15a George Square Edinburgh UK EH8 9LD
+44(0)131 651 1948
Research Interests
Climate change ethics, Climate justice, Collective responsibility, Justice and non-human animals, Population and justice, Political theory, Political philosophy, Justice and environment, Parental duties

Guidance and Feedback Hours

  • Elizabeth is on sabbatical until August 2020

Note: Elizabeth works a compressed week and is not generally available on Fridays.

Associate Director of CRITIQUE: Centre for Ethics and Thought

Co-Director, MSc Global Environment, Politics and Society


MSc course Climate Change, Justice and Responsibility

MA Hons course Climate Justice

Contributor to a number of other political theory or sustainable development courses, at all levels


1999: BA Hons in Philosophy, Politics and Economics (Johns College, Oxford University)

2005: MPhil in Philosophy (University College London)

2008: PhD in Philosophy (University College London)

Biographical sketch

Elizabeth took her first degree in PPE at St John's College, Oxford. She spent four years as a journalist, primarily for the Financial Times Group, before returning to academia in 2003. She completed her PhD and held a part time lectureship in in political philosophy (2007-2008) at University College London.

Elizabeth joined Edinburgh University in 2008 on a fixed term lectureship in political theory, then held a British Academy postdoctoral fellowship from 2009-2012. She was promoted to senior lecturer in 2016.

Research interests

Elizabeth's primary research interests are climate change ethics and justice, parental duties, and population and justice. Her monograph, Climate Change and the Moral Agent, defends a weakly collective duty to organise to tackle global climate change, then outlines the implications for individual moral agents. She is currently exploring the intersect between population ethics and climate and global justice, and that between climate duties and parental obligations.

Her British Academy postdoctoral fellowship was for the project "Collective Action, Collective Responsibility and a New Environmental Ethics". Her PhD thesis, "Individuals, Society and the World: A Defence of Collective Environmental Duties", defended a collective duty to establish global level environmental institutions.


Twitter: @ebcripps

Selected publications



Climate Change and the Moral Agent: Individual Duties in an Interdependent World, Oxford University Press

Research articles and chapters


"Individual Climate Justice Duties: The Cooperative Promotional Model and Its Challenges", Jeremy Moss and Lachlan Umbers eds. Climate Justice and Non-State Actors: Corporations, Regions, Cities, and Individuals (Routledge)


"Do Parents Have A Special Duty To Mitigate Climate Change?", Politics, Philosophy & Economics (Online First)

"Justice, Integrity and Moral Community: Do parents owe it to their children to bring them up as good global climate citizens?", Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 117 (1): 41-59

"Population, Climate Change, and Global Justice: A Moral Framework for Debate", Journal of Population and Sustainability 1 (2): 23-36


Climate Change, Population, and Justice: Hard Choices to Avoid Tragic Choices”, Global Justice: Theory, Practice, Rhetoric 8 (2): 1-22                

"Population and Environment: The Impossible, the Impermissible, and the Imperative", Stephen Gardiner and Allen Thompson eds. Oxford Handbook of Environmental Ethics (Oxford University Press)


"Climate Change, Collective Harm and Legitimate Coercion", Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy 14 (2): 171-193. Reprinted in: Gideon Calder and Catriona McKinnon eds. Climate Change and Liberal Priorities (London: Routledge, 2011)

"Collectivities without Intention", Journal of Social Philosophy 42 (1): 1-20


"Saving the Polar Bear, Saving the World: Can the Capabilities Approach do Justice to Humans, Animals and Ecosystems?", Res Publica 16 (1): 1-22

Edited symposium

"Breakthrough’ symposium: "Henry Shue, Climate Justice Pioneer", British Journal of Politics and International Relations 21(2)

Review essays


“On Climate Matters: Offsetting, Population, & Justice", Midwest Studies in Philosophy. Symposium on John Broome: Climate Matters: Ethics in a Warming World (London & New York: Norton, 2012).


"Where We Are Now: Climate Ethics and Future Challenges", Review Essay, Climate Law 2: 117-133

Topics interested in supervising

Liz welcomes enquiries from potential PhD candidates in climate change ethics or justice, duties to non-human animals, population ethics, or parental duties. For more on why to do a PhD in political philosophy in Edinburgh PIR, please see Edinburgh PhD in Political Theory.

If you are interested in being supervised by Elizabeth Cripps, please see the links below for more information:

PhD in Politics; MSc (R) Politics