Saturday, March 14, 2009

The ethical dimension of climate change

From climate journalist Elizabeth Kolbert's interview with e360 (via Island of Doubt)

e360: Do you think that there is a moral and ethical dimension to the issue of climate change?

Kolbert: Yeah. Well, I’m no moral philosopher, but it seems to me in that if there’s not a moral dimension to potentially leaving a totally impoverished planet to future generations, all future generations, I don’t know what would be.

These are changes that last thousands of years. They’re not things that you could turn around. What we’ve done to the oceans, for example, in terms of adding CO2 or, really, carbonic acid to the oceans, changing the chemistry of the oceans. That is irreversible for on the order of 10,000 years, okay? So we’re talking about, basically, for all intents and purposes, forever... What is our ethical obligation if not to hand off a planet that’s habitable? I can’t really see a higher ethical obligation.

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