Climate Change Ethics for an Endangered World  book cover
1st Edition

Climate Change Ethics for an Endangered World

ISBN 9780367524319
Published October 26, 2020 by Routledge
116 Pages

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Book Description

Climate change confronts us with our most pressing challenges today. The global consensus is clear that human activity is mostly to blame for its harmful effects, but there is disagreement about what should be done. While no shortage of proposals from ecological footprints and the polluter pays principle to adaptation technology and economic reforms, each offers a solution – but is climate change a problem we can solve? 

In this provocative new book, these popular proposals for ending or overcoming the threat of climate change are shown to offer no easy escape and each rest on an important mistake. Thom Brooks argues that a future environmental catastrophe is an event we can only delay or endure, but not avoid. This raises new ethical questions about how we should think about climate change. How should we reconceive sustainability without a status quo? Why is action more urgent and necessary than previously thought? What can we do to motivate and inspire hope? Many have misunderstood the kind of problem that climate change presents – as well as the daunting challenges we must face and overcome. Climate Change Ethics for an Endangered World is a critical guide on how we can better understand the fragile world around us before it is too late.

This innovative book will be of great interest to students and scholars of climate change, climate justice, environmental policy and environmental ethics.

Table of Contents


Chapter 1: Conservation: The Ecological Footprint

Chapter 2: Conservation: The Polluter Pays Principle

Chapter 3: Adaptation

Chapter 4: Climate Change and Catastrophe

Chapter 5: Possible Objections



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Thom Brooks is Professor of Law and Government, the Dean of Durham Law School and Associate Member of the Philosophy Department and School of Government and International Affairs at Durham University. He is founding editor of the Journal of Moral Philosophy.


"This book offers a rare combination of tough-mindedness, analytic rigor, and passion as it tackles the greatest challenge of our time—climate change. For Brooks, it’s past time to acknowledge that climate change cannot be solved though the careful selection of good polices. Climate change is an unavoidable tragedy that we must endure but may be able to survive. Offering a program that emphasizes flexibility and adaptation, Brooks brings original insights to a debate that too long has been bogged down in wishful thinking and empty scholasticism."

Professor Eric Posner, Kirkland & Ellis Distinguished Service Professor of Law at the University of Chicago's Law School.