Thursday, February 14, 2008

ethics and climate change

This review was published on the Enviroethics e-mail listserv today:

By James Garvey: The Ethics of Climate Change - right and wrong in a warming world


'The Ethics of Climate Change is a model of philosophical reasoning about one of the greatest moral challenges any generation has ever faced. If you don't yet know why you should be morally outraged about the present situation, read this book. Calmly, carefully, with well-marshalled facts and sound argument, Garvey shows us just how badly the nations of the industrialized world - and the citizens of those nations - are behaving. He also tells us what we need to do about it.'
Peter Singer, Ira W. DeCamp Professor of Bioethics, Princeton University, USA

This review was written by Alison Silver:

"In this book, James Garvey argues that the ultimate rationale for action on climate change cannot be simply economic, political, scientific or social, though no doubt our decisions should be informed by such things. Instead, climate change is largely a moral problem. What we should do about it depends on what matters to us and what we think is right."

"The changes to our planet are already having disastrous effects on the lives of many plants and animals. It's not just the poster boys for climate change, polar bears and mountain gorillas, which are in danger. According to a report in Nature, anything between 15 to 37 percent of all plant and animal species could be locked into extinction by 2050 as a result of climate change. We know from the fossil record that we are now living through the 6th major extinction event in our planet's history. The last one did in the dinosaurs."

"Human beings, too, are suffering and will continue to suffer. The Red Cross argue that as of 2001 there were as many as 25 million environmental refugees, people on the move away from dry wells and failed crops. It's larger than the number they give for people made homeless by war. One sixth of the world's population gets its water from the melting snow and ice tricking down from mountains, a source which looks set to dry up in the years to come. Industry, agriculture and homes on coasts will be adversely affected by the rising sea."

"This book considers a little climate science and a lot of moral philosophy, ultimately finding a way into the many possible positions associated with climate change. It is also a call for action, for doing something about the moral demands placed on both governments and individuals by the fact of climate change. It is a book about choices, responsibility, and where the moral weight falls on our warming world."

"James Garvey is Secretary of the Royal Institute of Philosophy, UK. He is author of The Twenty Greatest Philosophy Books (Continuum 2006) and numerous articles and reviews, mostly on the philosophy of mind and the history of philosophy."

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