Geoengineering in an Atmosphere of Evil
Recently, there have been increased calls for research on geoengineering as a response to the increasing threat of severe climate change brought on by political inertia. Specifically, it is argued that we should now start doing serious research on how best to intentionally modify the climate system, so that we can “arm the future” with the right technology. This chapter argues that the emergence of geoengineering proposals is to be anticipated within the perfect moral storm, but they should be subjected to close scrutiny as they can easily manifest moral corruption. In particular, the simple “arm the future” argument assumes much that is contentious, and is overly narrow in its conclusions. Moreover, it obscures much of what is at stake in the ethics of geoengineering, including what it means to call something an “evil”, and whether doing evil has further moral implications.
Keywords: intentional climate change, research only argument, arm the future argument, types of evil, tragic choices, marring, Sophie's Choice, stalking horse argument, shadow solutions, intergenerational ethics
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