The Ethics of Climate Change

 In the Anthropocene Age

  • LIFE IN THE ANTHROPOCENE …..The problem of atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gasses increasing beyond industrial levels may suggest a stable natural background value for atmospheric carbon dioxide. However, models for scientific research shows that concentrations of carbon dioxide have varied throughout Earth´s history. Fifty-five million years ago they exceeded 1,000 ppm 18,2013 About 200,000 years ago, when anatomically modern humans emerged, atmospheric carbon was about 225 ppm. Over the past 10,000 years, when almost everything we value about humanity and its creations come into existence, the Earth has been remarkably stable on a broad range of indicators. Until the last 250 years, when concentrations began to grow as a result of the industrial revolution, concentrations of atmospheric carbon dioxide have varied between 240 and 280 ppm. We have reached nearly 400 ppm as a result of human action, and if humans persist as long as the dinosaurs there is every reason to expect that mush more extreme concentrations will occur.
  • ETHICS FOR THE ANTHROPOCENE…..The Anthropocene presents novel challenges for living a meaningful life beginning with the question of ethics. Bernard Williams distinguished between moral and ethics. Ethics concern the generic question of how we should live and goes back to Homer and ancient Greek philosopher. The concept is universal and resilient. Ethics for the Anthropocene age relies on virtues. These mechanisms provide individual motivation to act in various roles from consumers to citizens in order to reduce GHG emissions. Source: Dale Jamieson “Reason in a Dark Time, Oxford University 2014 (p. 179 – 190)