1st Edition

Climate Change Ethics Navigating the Perfect Moral Storm

By Donald Brown Copyright 2013
    288 Pages 10 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    288 Pages 10 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Climate change is now the biggest challenge faced by humanity worldwide and ethics is the crucial missing component in the debate about what to do about this enormous threat. This book examines why thirty-five years of discussion of human-induced warming has failed to acknowledge fundamental ethical concerns, and subjects climate change’s most important policy questions to ethical analysis.

    This book examines why ethical principles have failed to gain traction in policy formation and recommends specific strategies to ensure that climate change policies are consistent with ethical principles. Because climate change is a global problem that requires a global solution and given that many nations refuse participation due to perceived inequities in proposed international solutions, this book explains why ensuring that nations, sub-national governments, organizations, businesses and individuals acknowledge and respond to their ethical obligations is both an ethical and practical mandate. This book is the first of its kind to go beyond a mere account of relevant ethical questions to offer a pragmatic guide on how to make ethical principles influential in formulating the world’s response to climate change.

    Written by Donald A. Brown, a leading voice in the field, it should be of interest to policy makers, and those studying environmental policy, climate change policy, international relations, environmental ethics and philosophy.

    Part 1: Introduction  1. Introduction: Navigating The Perfect Moral Storm in Light of a Thirty-Five Year Debate  2. Thirty-Five Year Climate Change Policy Debate  Part 2: Priority Ethical Issues  3. Ethical Problems with Cost Arguments  4. Ethics and Scientific Uncertainty Arguments  5. Atmospheric Targets 6. Allocating National Emissions Targets  7. Climate Change Damages and Adaptation Costs  8. Obligations of Sub-national Governments, Organizations, Businesses, and Individuals  9. Independent Responsibility to Act  Part 3: The Crucial Role of Ethics in Climate Change Policy Making  10. Why Has Ethics Failed to Achieve Traction?  11. Conclusion – Navigating The Perfect Moral Storm


    Donald A. Brown is Scholar in Residence on Sustainability Ethics and Law at Widener University School of Law, USA.

    'Climate change raises some of the most profound ethical issues of our time. And yet, for thirty years our policy responses have evaded comprehensive ethical analysis. This book puts an end to this grave and unjust omission. However, the outstanding contribution of this book is its explanation of how ethical considerations can bring moral responsibility to the forefront of climate policy and action.'Prue Taylor, University of Auckland, New Zealand

    'Don Brown, navigates the troubled waters of climate change denial. He deconstructs the cynical efforts by vested interests to pollute the public discourse by means of a climate change disinformation campaign. Brown also makes a compelling argument that limiting carbon emissions and mitigating climate change is the ethical imperative of our time.' – Michael Mann, Pennsylvania State University, USA

    'In this fascinating book, Donald A. Brown draws on his vast experience to explore one of the great ethical issues of our time, and provides recommendations about how to bring ethical issues into the formulation of global warming policy responses.'Richard Alley, Pennsylvania State University, USA

    'Climate change is essentially an ethical challenge to all people in all nations. Donald Brown increases our awareness not only of the ethical dimensions of climate change science, economics, and the allocation of national greenhouse gas targets but also how we might effectively integrate ethical principles into climate policy formation.' Shi Jun, Nanjing University of Information’s Science and Technology, China

    'Professor Brown eloquently reminds us that human-caused climate change is no illusion. Our approaching 'moral storm' promises to shipwreck the global community of nations. Can we stem this rising tide of ignorance, poverty, injustice, and human suffering? Yes. Should we? Most definitely, and Brown carefully charts our ethical course out of these deepest public policy waters with vision and courage.'Paul Carrick, Gettysburg College, USA

    'Climate Change Ethics provides a solid basis for bringing a wider audience into the ethics discussion. […] Scientists will […] find material in this book to help them recognize the ethical shortcomings contained in many anti-climate policy arguments, in addition to the scientific flaws they may be more accustomed to confronting.' Kristen Schmitt, Northern Institute of Applied Climate Science, USA, in Landscape Ecology