Ethics and Climate Change: Earth Day 2019

"The people of the 1940s could have left the Nazis for the people of the 1960s to deal with, but that would have meant leaving a political cancer that could worsen without limit. It is up to us to draw the line beyond which climate change cannot pass."
Henry Shue, "Tackling Climate Change: Why Us Now?"

In honor of Earth Day, April 22, 2019, Carnegie Council presents a selection of materials from the past year on the ethical responsibilities and challenges of coping with climate change.


ETHICS AND CLIMATE CHANGE

Ethical Implications of Climate Change for Education 
Brian Mateo, 
Bard College and Carnegie Council
"While [climate change] will affect those already disadvantaged the most severely, even when education is accessible we are beginning to see the impacts of climate change having negative effects on academic learning and achievement, gender disparities, and future economic growth." (Carnegie Ethics Online article, April 2019)

Climate Change and Competing Ethical Visions
Nikolas K. Gvosdev, U.S. Naval War College and Carnegie Council
The prevailing narrative in the fight against climate change is that we must adopt more cooperative efforts to help vulnerable populations. But what if, instead of this collective approach, countering climate change turns into a zero-sum game for nation-states? (Blog post, March 2019)

Tackling Climate Change: Why Us Now?
Henry Shue, University of Oxford
We are the pivotal generation, writes Shue, and acting now is not only a matter of self-interest but also of our unique moral responsibility. "It is up to us to draw the line beyond which climate change cannot pass." (Ethics & International Affairs journal, online exclusive, February 2019)

Climate Change Mitigation & Governance
Janos Pasztor,
 Carnegie Climate Geoengineering Governance Initiative (C2G2); Alex Woodson, Carnegie Council 
As activists, politicians, and environmentalists come to terms with a dire report on global warming from the UN's IPCC, Pasztor remains focused on the governance of the potential use of climate change "mitigation" technologies. What do these discussions look like in China? What do smaller countries think? And how challenging is it that climate change remains a political divisive issue in the U.S.? (Global Ethics Weekly podcast, November 2018)

Climate Change and the Power to Act: An Ethical Approach for Practi...
Robyn Eckersley, University of Melbourne; Ronny Jumeau, Permanent Representative to the United Nations and Ambassador for Climate Change, Republic of Seychelles (Tanzania, Seychelles); Darrel Moellendorf, Goethe University, Frankfurt; and Suma Peesapati, Peesapati Law and Communities for a Better Environment 
How we can advance climate justice globally and locally in the years ahead? These video clips summarize the participants' comments made as part of a roundtable hosted by the Council's journal, Ethics & International Affairs, at the International Studies Association’s Annual Convention. (April 2018)


CLIMATE CHANGE AND THE PHILIPPINES

Resources Resulting from Climate Change Research Delegation to the ... 
How is the encroaching threat of climate change reshaping culture, politics, and even faith in the Philippines? How can the claim of economic prosperity be reconciled with the equally valid claim of sustainability and conservation? How can the way Filipinos are coping with extreme climate change-related weather and disasters inform the rest of the world about response and resilience? Explore these fascinating articles, videos, and podcasts resulting from a Carnegie Council delegation to Manila. (Asia Dialogues Research Delegation led by Carnegie Council's Devin Stewart, October 2018)


CLASSROOM RESOURCES

Moral Leadership and the Environment: Who is Responsible for Protec...
Designed for high school and above, these resources include:

  • A PowerPoint lesson that allows students to evaluate and discuss why environmental protection is a moral/social justice issue, using the Flint Water Crisis as a case study.
  • Links to basic information on climate change.
  • Activities inspired by talks at Carnegie Council that focus on how climate change is addressed.

image: Spring. CREDIT: Ibinic (CC)

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A Thousand Small Sanities: The Moral Adventure of Liberalism, with Adam Gopnik

In his eloquent defense of liberalism, Adam Gopnik goes back to its origins and argues that rather than being emphasizing the role of the individual, "two principles, the principle of community and the principle of compromise," are at the core of the liberal project. Indeed, these are the essential elements of humane, pluralist societies; and in an age of autocracy, our very lives may depend on their continued existence.

Global Ethics Weekly: The Mueller Report & U.S. Foreign Policy, with Jonathan Cristol

A lot of the talk about the Mueller Report has focused on its political and legal implications, but how will it affect U.S. foreign policy? Adelphi College's Jonathan Cristol discusses the reactions of allies and adversaries to Trump's passivity in the face of massive Russian interference in the U.S. election and congressional inaction and public apathy concerning presidential corruption. Plus, he details recent U.S. policy moves on Iran and the significance of NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg's speech to U.S. Congress.

Wichita and American Global Engagement

Senior Fellw Nikolas Gvosdev discusses his takeaways from a visit to the Wichita Committee on Foreign Relations and from a talk from foreign policy analyst Aly Wyne. He writes the U.S. foreign policy establishment needs to work on engendering trust and articulate clearer goals.

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