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A Perfect Moral StormThe Ethical Tragedy of Climate Change$
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Stephen M. Gardiner

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780195379440

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195379440.001.0001

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Some Initial Ethics for the Transition

Some Initial Ethics for the Transition

(p.399) Chapter 11 Some Initial Ethics for the Transition
A Perfect Moral Storm

Stephen M. Gardiner

Oxford University Press

A full response to the perfect moral storm would requires a major project in ethical theory. Nevertheless, this postscript claims that more limited moral and political theorizing is relevant to current debates about climate policy, and suggests a modest redirection of the public debate. Specifically, it argues for seven theses: that scientific uncertainty is not a core issue; that a precautionary approach is theoretically respectable; that past emissions matter; that the intragenerational burdens fall predominantly on developed countries; that intergenerational trajectories require ethical defense; that the current generation's right to self-defense should be taken seriously, but is sharply limited; and that individuals bear some responsibility for national and international failures.

Keywords:   precautionary principle, scepticism, responsibility, emissions rights, subsistence emissions, equal per capita allocations, adaptation, UN framework convention on climate change, dead emitters, ignorance objection

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