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CLIMATE MATTERS by John Broome

CLIMATE MATTERS

Ethics in a Warming World

By John Broome

Pub Date: July 23rd, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-393-06336-3
Publisher: Norton

As mounting evidence shows that global warming is real and escalating, Broome (Moral Philosophy/Oxford Univ.; Weighing Lives, 2004, etc.) addresses the moral issues of this worldwide problem.

The author believes individuals and countries have an ethical obligation to reduce, eliminate or offset the carbon footprints they create on a daily basis. “[I]n the domain of climate change,” he writes, “private morality and government morality are regulated by different principles," with government focus being on making the world better. However, an individual focus is "determined by the duty of justice not to harm, rather than by the aim of improving the world.” By providing readers with an overview of the science and economic questions behind global warming, Broome lays a solid foundation for the remaining arguments in the book. He demonstrates that any emissions are harmful and best avoided. But as that is almost impossible to achieve, the next step is to offset any emissions, thereby ostensibly adding nothing to the problem. Moving past the individual, Broome addresses the need for governments to place a value on everything directly and indirectly affected by global warming. The author takes into consideration the uncertainty of climate change, the potential future damage from actions taken today, and a growing worldwide population. He points out the possible harm from issues such as rising sea levels, droughts and crop damage and analyzes how to place a value on the potential millions of lives lost as global warming increases. Broome's overall message appeals to the moral goodness of humanity. Global warming is real and must be stopped before the lives of those living today and of future generations are made permanently worse.

A moral and just viewpoint on an ever-expanding global issue.