Philosophers On Climate Change

The 21st Conference of the Parties (“COP 21”), a major international climate negotiation involving representatives of nearly every country in the world, and organized through the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, is currently taking place in Paris. One of the central goals of this year’s conference is “to achieve a legally binding and universal agreement on climate, with the aim of keeping global warming below 2°C.” Failure to rein in global warming, it is feared, will wreak drastic and harmful environmental damage, threatening human health and welfare, and possibly leading to social, economic, and political instability. Yet controlling climate change is an extraordinarily difficult coordination problem. More generally, climate change and the global efforts to address it raise a number of philosophical issues, including: moral responsibilities to the environment, non-human species, future generations, and the global poor; global governance and international cooperation; the role of individuals and institutions; scientific and moral uncertainty; the ethics of expertise and communication; and more. These issues and others warrant attention and discussion alongside the current news coverage COP 21. To that end, I invited several philosophers to share some brief remarks about them. As with previous installments in the “Philosophers On” series, these remarks are not comprehensive statements, but rather focused thoughts on specific issues, meant to prompt further discussion, here and elsewhere. Contributing are: John Broome (University of Oxford) — Climate Change Calls for Innovative Philosophical Work Ben Hale (University of Colorado) — A Hot, Glorious Mess Marcus Hedahl (United States Naval Academy) — How The Wrongs of Climate Change Are Compounded Avram Hiller (Portland State University) — Measure Climate Change’s Intrinsic Impact on Non-Human Nature Marion Hourdequin (Colorado College) — Climate Change and Individual Action Dale Jamieson (New York University) — The Mutual Challenges of Philosophy and Climate Change Catriona McKinnon (University of Reading) — The Paris Agreement: Too Little, Too Late? Darrel Moellendorf (Goethe University Frankfurt) — The Aim of Mitigation and the Right Sustainable Development Thanks to each of them for taking the time to participate in this post. The idea of the “Philosophers On” series is to explore the ways in which philosophers can add, with their characteristically insightful and careful modes of thinking, to the public conversations about current events, as well as prompt further … Continue reading Philosophers On Climate Change