Reflections on chapter one of the Pope’s encyclical letter, Laudato Si’

Phil cafaroBy Philip Cafaro
Email: philip.cafaro@colostate.edu
Website: http://www.philipcafaro.com/

Phil writes on environmental ethics, 
consumption and population policy, and 
biodiversity preservation. He is the author
of Thoreau’s Living Ethics, and recently 
co-edited Life on the Brink: Environmentalists
Confront Population Growth.

Published June 26, 2015

There is a lot to chew on in the Pope’s encyclical released today, LAUDATO SI’, ON CARE FOR OUR COMMON HOME. Having just finished the first chapter (of six), I’d like to call your attention to several particularly intriguing paragraphs below. Continue reading

A Philosopher at the IPCC

John BroomeBy John Broome
email: john.broome@philosophy.ox.ac.uk 
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.

When Did Earth Day Become So Irrelevant?

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

Ethics of Recent Report on Climate Change Science

donald_a_brownBy Donald Brown
email: dabrown57@gmail.com 
website: http://blogs.law.widener.edu/climate/
Scholar In Residence, Ethics and Law,
Widener University School of Law.
Donald writes on applied, environmental, 
and climate change ethics.

Published March 9, 2014

Climate Evidence and CausesThe National Academy of Sciences and its British counterpart, the Royal Society, have published Climate Change: Evidence and Causes, a very easy to understand primer on the science of greenhouse-driven global warming. Although there is not a lot new in this report as a matter of science, it makes the strong scientific consensus on human-induced climate change that has existed for some time clearer and more accessible for non-scientists particularly on the major issues that need to be understood by policy-makers and interested citizens.  The report is written in simple language and filled with pictures and graphs which illustrate why almost all mainstream scientists actually engaged in climate change science are virtually certain that human activity is causing very dangerous climate change. Continue reading

Normative Issues in Warsaw Negotiations: Issue #3

donald_a_brownBy Donald Brown
email: dabrown57@gmail.com 
website: http://blogs.law.widener.edu/climate/
Scholar In Residence, Ethics and Law,
Widener University School of Law.
Donald writes on applied, environmental, 
and climate change ethics.

Published December 4, 2013

Part 4: Ethical Issues Entailed by the Warsaw Agenda, Adaptation Funding and Compensation of Loss and Damages

Introduction
This is the fourth paper in a series which is looking at the ethical issues entailed by the negotiation agenda at COP-19 in Warsaw. The first two papers looked at ethical issues entailed by the need for increasing ambition for national ghg emissions reduction commitments in the short-term and the second examined ethical issues created by urgent needs of nations to commit to significant ghg emissions reductions in the medium- to long-term. This paper concludes a series that has been examining ethical issues in play at Cop 19 before the conclusion of the Warsaw COP.  Additional papers in the series will again look at these issues in light of what actually happens in Warsaw. Continue reading