ISBN : 9780195379440
Climate change is arguably the great problem confronting humanity, but we have done little to head off this looming catastrophe. In The Perfect Moral Storm, philosopher Stephen Gardiner illuminates our dangerous inaction by placing the environmental crisis in an entirely new light, considering it as an ethical failure. Gardiner clarifies the moral situation, identifying the temptations (or "storms") that make us vulnerable to a certain kind of corruption. First, the world's most affluent nations are tempted to pass on the cost of climate change to the poorer and weaker citizens of the world. Second, the present generation is tempted to pass the problem on to future generations. Third, our poor grasp of science, international justice, and the human relationship to nature helps to facilitate inaction. As a result, we are engaging in willful self-deception when the lives of future generations, the world's poor, and even the basic fabric of life on the planet is at stake. We should wake up to this profound ethical failure, Gardiner concludes, and demand more of our institutions, our leaders and ourselves.
INTRODUCTION: A GLOBAL ENVIRONMENTAL TRAGEDY
I. Some Assumptions
II. Introducing the Perfect Storm Metaphor
III. Climate Change
IV. The Wider Relevance of the Model
V. Outline of the Book
PART A: OVERVIEW
1. A Perfect Moral Storm
I. Why Ethics?
II. The Global Storm
III. The Intergenerational Storm
IV. The Theoretical Storm
V. The Problem of Moral Corruption
2. A Consumption Tragedy
I. What is the Point of Game Theory
II. Motivating the Models
III. A Green Energy Revolution?
IV. Consumption and Happiness
PART B: THE GLOBAL STORM
3. Somebody Else's Problem
I. Past Climate Policy
II. Somebody Else's Burden
III. Against Optimism
4. In the Shadow of a Common Tragedy
I. Climate Prisoners?
II. An Evolving Tragedy
III. Beyond Pessimism
IV. Lingering Tragedy
V. Climate Policy in the Shadows
PART C: THE INTERGENERATIONAL STORM
5. The Tyranny of the Contemporary
I. Problems with 'Generations'
II. Intergenerational Buck-Passing
III. Intergenerational Buck-Passing vs. The Prisoner's Dilemma
IV. The Features of the Pure Intergenerational Problem
V. Applications and Complications
VI. Mitigating Factors
VII. The Non-Identity Problem: A Quick Aside
VIII. Against Undermining
6. An Intergenerational Arms Race?
I. Abrupt Climate Change
II. Three Causes of Political Inertia
III. Against Undermining
PART D: THE THEORETICAL STORM
7. A Global Test for Political Institutions and Theories
I. The Global Test
III. A Conjecture
IV. Theoretical Vices
V. An Illustration: Utilitarianism
VI. Understanding the Complaint
8. Cost-Benefit Analysis
I. Cost-Benefit Analysis in Normal Contexts
II. CBA for Climate Change
III. The Presumption Against Discounting
IV. The Basic Economics of the Discount Rate
V. Discounting the Rich?
VI. Declining Discount Rates
VII. Two Objections to "Not Discounting"
VIII. The "Devil's in the Details" Argument
PART E: MORAL CORRUPTION
9. Jane Austen vs. Climate Economics
II. The Dubious Dashwoods: Initial Parallels
III. The Opening Assault on the Status of the Moral Claim
IV. The Assault on Content
V. Indirect Attacks
VI. The Moral of the Story
10. Geoengineering in an Atomosphere of Evil
I. An Idea that is Changing the World
II. The Problem of Political Inertia Revisited
III. Two Preliminary Arguments: Cost and "Research First"?
IV. Arming the Future
V. Arm the Present?
VI. Evolving the Shadows
VII. Underestimating 'Evil'
VIII. An Atmosphere of Evil?
IX. "Should We Do It?"
PART F: WHAT NOW?
Conclusion: The Immediate Future
Postscript: Some Initial Ethics of the Transition
II. The Ethics of Skepticism
III. Past Emissions
IV. Future Emissions
VI. Ideal Theory
I. Hardin's Analysis
II. Population as a Tragedy of the Commons
III. Total Environmental Impact
I. What the Scientists Know
II. Certainty, Guesswork and the Missing Middle