To support equitable adaptation planning, quantitative assessments should consider the fairness of the distribution of outcomes to different people. What constitutes a fair distribution, however, is a normative question. In this study, we explore the use of different moral principles drawn from theories of distributive justice to evaluate fairness. We use adaptation planning in Vietnam Mekong Delta as a case study. We evaluate the preference ranking of six alternative policies for seven moral principles across an ensemble of scenarios. Under the baseline scenario, each principle yields distinctive preference rankings, though most principles identify the same policy as the most preferred one. Across the ensemble of scenarios, the commonly used utilitarian principle yields the most stable ranking, while rankings from other principles are more sensitive to uncertainty. The sufficientarian and the envy-free principles yield the most distinctive ranking of policies, with a median ranking correlation of only 0.07 across all scenarios. Finally, we identify scenarios under which using these two principles results in reversed policy preference rankings. Our study highlights the importance of considering multiple moral principles in evaluating the fairness of adaptation policies, as this would reduce the possibility of maladaptation.
- Distributional outcomes
- Ethical principle