New Book: The Ethics of Climate Change

I am rubbish at self-promotion, but it seems part of the way things are done these days.  Blushing almost audibly, I am very happy to report that The Ethics of Climate Change is published this week.  You can find further details here:  Here’s part of the blurb from the publisher.

The book considers some climate science and a lot of moral philosophy.  It is written in the conviction that climate change is largely a moral problem — what we should do about it depends on what matters to us and what we think is right.  It is also a call for action, for doing something about the moral demands placed on both governments and individuals by the fact of climate change.  It’s about choices, responsibility, and where the moral weight falls on our warming world.

The Ethics of Climate Change is a model of philosophical reasoning about one of the greatest moral challenges any generation has ever faced.  If you don’t yet know why you should be morally outraged about the present situation, read this book.  Calmly, carefully, with well-marshalled facts and sound argument, Garvey shows us just how badly the nations of the industrialized world — and the citizens of those nations — are behaving.  He also tells us what we need to do about it.’

— Peter Singer, Ira W. DeCamp Professor of Bioethics, Princeton University

‘Written in plain English, Garvey’s excellent book makes accessible to the reader the ethical issues surrounding global warming, and the literature too.  It should figure on all relevant reading lists.’

— Robin Attfield, Professor of Philosophy, Cardiff University

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  1. That’s splendid. Congratulations!

    Re: self-promotion. It goes against everything we were taught in etiquette class…but it’s not inherently evil.

  2. Congratulations! 🙂

    I shall demand the local Barnes & Noble provide me a copy! (And I’ll read it the moment I finish Jean’s book, a brand new copy of which I’ve just snared. 🙂 )

    And self-promotion isn’t evil, it’s a necessity! Heck, if you want context: Mark Twain was once caught reading one of his books, and he was laughing loudly. he told the person (his daughter, if I’ve got the story right) that it was the funniest book he’d ever read… 🙂

    (Think of it this way: don’t be modest, getting a book published in this day and age is quite an accomplishment! Sing about from the rooftops!)

    Carolyn Ann

  3. Many thanks for the kind words. I have been doing a bit of rooftop singing, which makes a change from the barbaric yawps.

  4. More bandwagon-jumping on the “global climate crisis”?

    This earth is constantly changing. History proves that. Observing this fact and calling it a crisis is like recognizing the sun could blow up at any time and calling it a crisis.

    Maybe we should dump a few trillion into keeping the sun from exploding.

  5. Not at all.

    No doubt the Earth’s climate has changed in the past, but evidence for the conclusion that it’s changing now, rapidly and because of us, is overwhelming. What’s going on now is not a natural change. Read the IPCC’s stuff and come to your own conclusions.

    The sun might explode tomorrow, but I’ve got no good reason to think it will. According to the IPCC, the human role in our changing climate is unequivocal. The IPCC tells us it is ‘virtually certain’ (and by that it means ’99 % probabiliy of occurring) that there will be warmer and more frequent hot days and nights over most land areas. High confidence attaches to all sorts of other predictions associated with warming.

  6. First of all I would preface anything on the subject with the Money Card. That is, it is going to benefit a LOT of people should we decide to make changes the way this IPCC (The St. Gore Crew) says we ought. They are chomping at the bit, like when the Radon gas detectors made millions thanks to the (false) Radon gas affair. This latest enviro-nazism goes itself unchecked, and makes assumptions and uses data that support the cause it wants, Sad to say, it also holds much sway in academia, as if we are bereft of real problems. Furthermore, anyone who argues against the green thumbs is labeled unscientific out of hand, not quite fair at all.

    I see the evidence and agree the Earth is changing. I also agree that some of it may be because of human existence. This means everything from campfires to exhaust pipes. I agree we should use alternative energy sources, that we should not get rid of waste the way we do.

    So yes, some of it is because of us, as was some of it years gone by. Let’s put it this way, you say:

    “The sun might explode tomorrow, but I’ve got no good reason to think it will.”

    Well I reply, the earth may be changed to the level of disaster, but I don’t think it will. There simply is no way to distinguish what is natural, as regards to “damage done,” from what is man’s responsibility. The availability of such data, from 100s of years ago, simply does not exist. In fact for all we know the rate of, say, glacier melting, could actually be less than centuries ago.

    Opponents of this doctrine also hold their own data in “high confidence.” Hey look, I am no fan of the oil industry, pourinf chemical waste into our water suppply, the combustion engine, or even aerosol. But I am a fan of truth. I mean if you want to look at what could cause changes in temperature, why not look to NASA and the satellite and/or rocket business, which busts more holes in the atmosphere than Swiss cheese.

    So maybe the date shows a recent increase and temperature fluctuations. But as to what causes it, I think there are other forces at work, and that the variables are too many for us to narrow down.

    I will close by saying thank you for the response. I await more real evidence other than the presentation I have seen and the numbers I have looked at. But I insist we are change personified, and change doesn’t always come the way and when you like it.

    In between cataclysms there is change in smaller scale, always.

  7. Not sure what to make of the claim that some people are going to make money out of supporting green issues. Maybe so, but that fact does not make the conclusions of the IPCC false.

    There really are ways to distinguish between what is natural and what is our responsibility. Have a look at the IPCC’s report on the science, particularly ‘Human and Natural Drivers of Climate Change.’

    There really is data, from hundreds and even hundreds of thousands of years ago. Paleoclimatology is not a new study.

    A good book on the the science of climate change is John Houghton’s Global Warming: The Complete Briefing.

  8. Thanks for the link. I’m familiar with some of this data but people often overlook the degrees of variability, and there is not much there about centuries ago other than speculation and using words like “unlikely to have been surpassed in 2000 years.” Of course this is a guess based on available data.

    Also there are variables that need to be accounted for in the testing methods.

    Let’s put it this way James, I have no problem if you find a skull imbedded in a tar pit, and the rest of the body is gone but embedded into the tar, and you reconstruct the skeleton. Where I have a problem is when you find an isolated jawbone and proceed to conjure me up that person and what he/she looked like. It is the same with this data. The collection methods can be flawed as well, the interpretation of the data, etc. I mean look at how many times the “very likely” (emphasized by them) tag is used.

    And again, let’s say that the data is correct, even its projections for 2030! Again you have the problem of discovering the source. There is nothing in this data that can pinpoint the culprit. Again I say it is rockets sent out of the atmosphere and busting up our protective barrier. Why no discussion of this?

    I have not read Houghton’s book. I would like to read one without an axe to grind that presents the data as it is and which also explains the methods of accumulation of this data.

    I do wish you much success with your own book. I remain skeptical that we can (or even should) make drastic changes base don this data, as it will not be worth the expense and could be another Bin Laden, where we search and find nothing, and maybe what we are searching for is not even the culprit, and we spend all this money and time and change liifestyles because of the tyranny of bad science.

    And like an old professor once told me when I rode these bandwagons, he said “Why not just let the dinosaur die?” It took me a few years but I finally understood what he meant.

  9. Let me cite in this context a little ditty from personal experience. Attending a conference on pollution, I was introduced by a friend to a display that showed how it is usually determined that cigarette smoke is bad. I was led to a room wherein there were two (at one time, i am told) identical plants. One was free in the open air, the other covered with a dome and continually suscepted to piped-in smoke. Well of course what i saw was one wilted plant and one healthy one.

    Waiting for a caveat, I never got one, so when the discussion was done, I approached the person in charge of the demonstration and asked him why did they not take the dome off the plant getting the smoke. It was as if I had suggested a break in scientific protocol. and was assured this is how it is done routinely.

    I realize this is somewhat off topic, but you see the problem. It is not so much the smoke as the stale air that was killing that plant. No ventilation, even without the smoke that plant wouldn’t last any time at all.

    A good argument ensued with the few of us left after the presentation. Of course I couldn’t change the experimenter’s mind (and ergo his conclusions) but indeed many there hadn’t even considered this observation.

    Maybe you can see what I am getting at. The very setup of the experiment is bad. As many of these global warning “conclusions.”

  10. uh oh did i screw the page up?

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