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Ethics and Global Climate Change (Paperback) (Peter A. French)

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The planet is undergoing a global change in climate that has begun to negatively affect populations and is predicted to accelerate in the coming decades. The human beings now on Earth are the first to exist when the climatic dynamics of the planet are scientifically understood. That understanding makes patently clear that the aggregate effects of human activities have a distinct impact on planetary climate and the way humans will live, if they survive, in the future. This appears to be a tipping point time in human history when future climatic catastrophes that threaten generations of humans might be preventable if governments, institutions, and organizations now take mitigating actions. That suggests that the people currently alive on the planet bear a collective responsibility to address the negative human impact on climate.

In recent years global climate change is a major focus of research among scientists, economists, and political and legal theorists. It is also a blisteringly hot discussion topic among politicians, leaders of governments, and social media commentators and bloggers. There are hundreds of thousands of sites on the Internet that raise issues, either directly or indirectly, focused on climate change or that flatly deny the overwhelming weight of the scientific evidence of its existence or that the activities of humans worldwide are a major contributing factor. Political parties in the United States (and in other countries) have adopted policy and platform positions ranging from denial of human-caused climate change, while championing existing fossil fuel industries, to dire predictions of the end of civilization unless radical changes in governmental policies and human activities are taken.

The challenge of mitigating global climate change is often seen as potentially met through various kinds of scientific research, engineering (including genetic engineering), technological innovation, political action, or enforceable international treaties. However, at the heart of the challenge are very significant ethical matters. Ethical concerns arise in what is called "climate justice." They may involve burden-sharing issues and also raise questions about what constitutes justifiable actions taken against populations that do not act in ways to limit preventable negative impacts on climate. What, for example, are the responsibilities of peoples (and their governments) when others do not comply with internationally agreed-upon standards necessary to control greenhouse gas emissions? What sort of policies ought to be adopted by institutions and governments to successfully implement desired outcomes? Are there economic models that should be preferred when it comes to the intergenerational burdens of climate change? How should we design the environments in which we live and that future generations will inherit from us? The latter is not merely a political problem, but involves architectural and other personal preferences, urban
Number of Pages: 314
Genre: Philosophy, Science
Series Title: Midwest Studies in Philosophy
Format: Paperback
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons Inc
Author: Peter A. French
Language: English
Street Date: October 3, 2016
TCIN: 51562642
UPC: 9781119341321
Item Number (DPCI): 248-25-0070

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