Synopses & Reviews
Esteemed philosopher John Broome avoids the familiar ideological stances on climate change policy and examines the issue through an invigorating new lens. As he considers the moral dimensions of climate change, he reasons clearly through what universal standards of goodness and justice require of us, both as citizens and as governments. His conclusions--some as demanding as they are logical--will challenge and enlighten. Eco-conscious readers may be surprised to hear they have a duty to offset all their carbon emissions, while policy makers will grapple with Broome's analysis of what if anything is owed to future generations. From the science of greenhouse gases to the intricate logic of cap and trade, Broome reveals how the principles that underlie everyday decision making also provide simple and effective ideas for confronting climate change. is an essential contribution to one of the paramount issues of our time.
"The latest from the Amnesty International Global Ethics series examines climate change from a philosophical perspective and explains the moral duties required to combat the problem. Drawing on the numerous scientific studies demonstrating that 'the Arctic is melting,' Oxford philosopher Broome (Counting the Cost of Global Warming) begins with the effects this melting has on the local human population (for example, the Inuit people of Greenland and northern Canada), such as the sudden unpredictability of animal life and difficulty constructing shelter. Broome contends that at the bare minimum, the rest of the world has an obligation to reduce climate change to assist these innocent victims, if not to prevent potential future catastrophes elsewhere. On an individual level, people should, in the interests of justice, stop emitting greenhouse gases, which clearly cause harm to others, according to Broome. It is the responsibility of governments, whose aim should be to promote goodness in various ways, to reduce emissions and thus decrease the damage caused by climate change. While predictions of the future climate range 'from the relatively benign to the catastrophically harsh,' experts agree that the risk of disaster is a real possibility. As a result, Broome argues, people must pressure their governments to work together to significantly reduce emissions now. Though this is a well-reasoned consideration of the issue's ethical implications and obligations, it's unlikely to sway nonbelievers. (July)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
A vital new moral perspective on the climate change debate.
About the Author
John Broome is the White's Professor of Moral Philosophy at the University of Oxford. He is also the lead author on Working Group III of the UN's International Panel on Climate Change.