By John Broome
White's Professor of Moral Philosophy and
Fellow of Corpus Christi College, Oxford
John is a British ethicist and economist.
His most recent book is Climate Matters:
Ethics in a Warming World
Published May 20, 2014
Climate change is a moral problem. Each of us causes the emission of greenhouse gas, which spreads around the Earth. Some of it stays in the atmosphere for centuries. It causes harm to people who live far away and to members of future generations. Moreover, the harm we cause, taken together, is very great. As a result of climate change, people are losing their homes to storms and floods, they are losing their livelihoods as their farmland dries up, and they are losing even their lives as tropical diseases climb higher in the mountains of Africa. We should not cause harms like these to other people in order to make life better for ourselves.
It is chiefly for moral reasons that we inhabitants of rich countries should reduce our emissions. Doing so will benefit us—particularly the young among us—to an extent, but most of the benefit will come to the world’s poor and to future generations. Our main reason for working to limit climate change is our moral duty towards those people.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) recognizes that climate change is a moral problem or, to use its cautious language, it raises ethical issues. The authors of the IPCC’s recent Fifth Assessment Report therefore included two moral philosophers. I am one of them. I recently returned from the Approval Session of IPCC’s Working Group 3 in Berlin. This was one of the most extraordinary experiences of my academic life.
First Earth Day: April 22, 1970, NBC News
A look at different demonstrations and celebrations of the first Earth Day, April 22, 1970 from around the country. The clip ends with a quote from Jay Murray Mitchell of the American Geophysical Union who warned (in 1970) of increasing levels of pollution which could lead to a greenhouse effect within the next 200 years and extensive global flooding caused by the melting of the Arctic Ice cap. Continue reading
Today is Earth Day, April 22, 2014. Like most Earth Days these days, a few grey-haired environmentalists may take note of the event, celebrities will tweet meaningless platitudes like Daryl Hannah’s exhortation that we should all “love your mother,” and college students will have celebrations at their campuses emphasizing individual consumer choice and the pursuit of sustainability through better technology. When did Earth Day become so irrelevant? Continue reading
You are invited to attend ISEE’s two sessions at the upcoming 2014 Pacific Division Meeting of the American Philosophical Association (APA), which will be held in San Diego, CA, USA from Wednesday, April 16th to Sunday, April 20th at the Westin Gaslamp Hotel. As usual, this year’s sessions look to be exemplary.
Uncertainty is present in all phases of climate change research from the physical science (e.g., projections of future climate) to the impacts through to the effort to make decisions regarding mitigation and adaptation across different spatial scales. This theme will embrace all aspects of uncertainty in climate change research, providing a pedagogic whole for students, post docs, and early career scientists interested in any and all aspects of climate change. Continue reading
An invitation for papers on the
Occasion of 30th anniversary of The Trumpeter