A Perfect Moral Storm

A Perfect Moral Storm : The Ethical Tragedy of Climate Change

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Climate change is arguably the great problem confronting humanity, but we have done little to head off this looming catastrophe. In The Perfect Moral Storm, philosopher Stephen Gardiner illuminates our dangerous inaction by placing the environmental crisis in an entirely new light, considering it as an ethical failure. Gardiner clarifies the moral situation, identifying the temptations (or "storms") that make us vulnerable to a certain kind
of corruption. First, the world's most affluent nations are tempted to pass on the cost of climate change to the poorer and weaker citizens of the world. Second, the present generation is tempted to pass the problem on to future generations. Third, our poor grasp of science, international justice, and the human relationship
to nature helps to facilitate inaction. As a result, we are engaging in willful self-deception when the lives of future generations, the world's poor, and even the basic fabric of life on the planet is at stake. We should wake up to this profound ethical failure, Gardiner concludes, and demand more of our institutions, our leaders and ourselves.

"This is a radical book, both in the sense that it faces extremes and in the sense that it goes to the roots." -Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews

"The book's strength lies in Gardiner's success at understanding and clarifying the types of moral issues that climate change raises, which is an important first step toward solutions." -Science Magazine

"Gardiner has expertly explored some very instinctual and vitally important considerations which cannot realistically be ignored. -Required reading." -Green Prophet

"Gardiner makes a strong case for highlighting and insisting on the ethical dimensions of the climate problem, and his warnings about buck-passing and the dangerous appeal of moral corruptions hit home." -Times Higher Education

"Stephen Gardiner takes to a new level our understanding of the moral dimensions of climate change. A Perfect Moral Storm argues convincingly that climate change is the greatest moral challenge our species has ever faced - and that the problem goes even deeper than we think." -Peter Singer, Princeton University
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Product details

  • Paperback | 518 pages
  • 156 x 234 x 28mm | 768g
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • Reprint
  • 0199985146
  • 9780199985142
  • 499,993

Table of contents

Contents ; Preface ; Acknowledgements ; Introduction: A Global Environmental Tragedy ; I. Some Assumptions ; II. Introducing the Perfect Storm Metaphor ; III. Climate Change ; IV. The Wider Relevance of the Model ; V. Outline of the Book ; Part A: Overview ; Chapter 1: A Perfect Moral Storm ; I. Why Ethics? ; II. The Global Storm ; III. The Intergenerational Storm ; IV. The Theoretical Storm ; V. The Problem of Moral Corruption ; Chapter 2: A Consumption Tragedy ; I. What is the Point of Game Theory? ; II. Motivating the Models ; III. A Green Energy Revolution? ; IV. Consumption and Happiness ; Part B: The Global Storm ; Chapter 3: Somebody Else's Problem ; I. Past Climate Policy ; II. Somebody Else's Burden ; III. Against Optimism ; IV. Conclusion ; Chapter 4: In the Shadow of a Common Tragedy ; I. Climate Prisoners? ; II. An Evolving Tragedy ; III. Beyond Pessimism ; IV. Lingering Tragedy ; V. Climate Policy in the Shadows ; VI. Conclusion ; Part C: The Intergenerational Storm ; Chapter 5: The Tyranny of the Contemporary ; I. Problems with 'Generations' ; II. Intergenerational Buck-Passing ; III. Intergenerational Buck-Passing vs. The Prisoners' Dilemma ; IV. The Features of the Pure Intergenerational Problem ; V. Applications and Complications ; VI. Mitigating Factors ; VII. The Non-Identity Problem: A Quick Aside ; VIII. Conclusion ; Chapter 6: An Intergenerational Arms Race? ; I. Abrupt Climate Change ; II. Three Causes of Political Inertia ; III. Against Undermining ; IV. Conclusion ; Part D: The Theoretical Storm ; Chapter 7: A Global Test for Political Institutions and Theories ; I. The Global Test ; II. Scenarios ; III. A Conjecture ; IV. Theoretical Vices ; V. An Illustration: Utilitarianism ; VI. Understanding the Complaint ; VII. Conclusion ; Chapter 8: Cost-Benefit Paralysis ; I. Cost-Benefit Analysis in Normal Contexts ; II. CBA for Climate Change ; III. The Presumption Against Discounting ; IV. The Basic Economics of the Discount Rate ; V. Discounting the Rich? ; VI. Declining Discount Rates ; VII. Two Objections to "Not Discounting" ; VIII. The "Devil's in the Details" Argument ; IX. Conclusions ; Part E: Moral Corruption ; Chapter 9: Jane Austen vs. Climate Economics ; I. Corruption ; II. The Dubious Dashwoods: Initial Parallels ; III. The Opening Assault on the Status of the Moral Claim ; IV. The Assault on Content ; V. Indirect Attacks ; VI. The Moral of the Story ; Chapter 10: Geoengineering in an Atmosphere of Evil ; I. An Idea that is Changing the World ; II. The Problem of Political Inertia Revisited ; III. Two Preliminary Arguments: Cost and "Research First"? ; IV. Arming the Future ; V. Arm the Present? ; VI. Evolving Shadows ; VII. Underestimating 'Evil' ; VIII. An Atmosphere of Evil? ; IX. "But... Should We Do It?" ; Part F: What Now? ; Conclusion: The Immediate Future ; Postscript: Some Initial Ethics of the Transition ; I. Introduction ; II. The Ethics of Skepticism ; III. Past Emissions ; IV. Future Emissions ; V. Responsibility ; VI. Ideal Theory ; VII. Conclusion ; Appendices ; Appendix 1: The Population Tragedy ; I. Hardin's Analysis ; II. Population as a Tragedy of the Commons ; III. Total Environmental Impact ; IV. Conclusion ; Appendix 2: Epistemic Corruption and Scientific Uncertainty in ; Michael Crichton's State of Fear ; I. What the Scientists Know ; II. Certainty, Guesswork and the Missing Middle ; III. Conclusion
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Review quote

Gardiner has expertly explored some very instinctual and vitally important considerations which cannot realistically be ignored. Required reading. * Robin Whitlock, Green Prophet *
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About Stephen M. Gardiner

Stephen M. Gardiner is Professor of Philosophy and Ben Rabinowitz Endowed Professor of Human Dimensions of the Environment at the University of Washington, Seattle. He is the coordinating co-editor of Climate Ethics: Essential Readings (Oxford, 2010), and the editor of Virtue Ethics: Old and New (Cornell, 2005). He is currently co-editing the Oxford Handbook on Environmental Ethics with Allen
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Rating details

71 ratings
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5 35% (25)
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3 14% (10)
2 10% (7)
1 0% (0)
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