Re-Thinking the Unthinkable: Environmental Ethics and the Presumptive Argument Against Geoengineering
AbstractThe rapid rise in interest in geoengineering the climate as a response to global warming presents a clear and significant challenge to environmental ethics. The paper articulates what I call the 'presumptive argument' against geoengineering from environmental ethics, a presumption strong enough to make geoengineering almost 'unthinkable' from within that tradition. Two rationales for suspending that presumption are next considered. One of them is a 'lesser evil' argument, the other makes connections between the presumptive argument, ecofacism, and the anthropocentrism/non-anthropocentrism debate. The discussion is designed to prompt reflection on how environmental ethicists should orient themselves to the rapidly moving geoengineering debate and what they should think about the moral significance of the earth's large-scale biogeochemical processes compared to the moral significance of individuals, species, and ecosystems.
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Bibliographic InfoArticle provided by White Horse Press in its journal Environmental Values.
Volume (Year): 20 (2011)
Issue (Month): 4 (November)
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Geoengineering; presumptive argument; environmental ethics; lesser of two evils; anthropocentrism; fundamental biogeochemical processes;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- Q25 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation - - - Water
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- Stephen M. Gardiner, 2011. "Some Early Ethics of Geoengineering the Climate: A Commentary on the Values of the Royal Society Report," Environmental Values, White Horse Press, vol. 20(2), pages 163-188, May.
- Christopher J. Preston, 2008. "Synthetic Biology: Drawing a Line in Darwin's Sand," Environmental Values, White Horse Press, vol. 17(1), pages 23-39, February.
- Benjamin Hale & W.P. Grundy, 2009. "Remediation and Respect: Do Remediation Technologies Alter Our Responsibility?," Environmental Values, White Horse Press, vol. 18(4), pages 397-415, November.
- Clive L. Spash, 2012. "Response and Responsibility," Environmental Values, White Horse Press, vol. 21(4), pages 391-376, November.
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