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Environmental Values

A Perfect Moral Storm: Climate Change, Intergenerational Ethics and the Problem of Moral Corruption

Stephen M. Gardiner

Environmental Values 15(2006): 397-413. doi: 10.3197/096327106778226293


The peculiar features of the climate change problem pose substantial obstacles to our ability to make the hard choices necessary to address it. Climate change involves the convergence of a set of global, intergenerational and theoretical problems. This convergence justifies calling it a 'perfect moral storm'. One consequence of this storm is that, even if the other difficult ethical questions surrounding climate change could be answered, we might still find it difficult to act. For the storm makes us extremely vulnerable to moral corruption.

KEYWORDS: Global warming, tragedy of the commons, game theory, global environment

CITATIONS in other Environmental Values articles

Ethics and Climate Change: A Commentary on MacCracken, Toman and Gardiner.Peter Singer

Editorial. Clive L. Spash

The Multidimensionality of Environmental Problems: The GMO Controversy and the Limits of Scientific Materialism. Michael S. Carolan

Why Worry About Climate Change? A Research Agenda. Richard S.J. Tol

Wrongful Harm to Future Generations: The Case of Climate Change.Marc D. Davidson

Morality and Climate Change: Is Leaving your TV on Standby a Risky Behaviour? Catherine Butler

Re-Thinking the Unthinkable: Environmental Ethics and the Presumptive Argument Against Geoengineering Christopher J. Preston

Disagreement and Responses to Climate Change Graham Long

Meat and Global Warming: Impact Models, Mitigation Approaches and Ethical Aspects. Anders Nordgren

Environmental Stewardship, Moral Psychology and Gardens. Marcello di Paola

Climate Change and Political Philosophy: Who Owes What to Whom?. Joerg Chet Tremmel

Aesthetic Value, Ethics and Climate Change. Emily Brady

Meeting the Targets or Re-Imagining Society? An Empirical Study into the Ethical Landscape of Carbon Dioxide Capture and Storage in Scotland. Leslie Mabon and Simon Shackley

Can We Have It Both Ways? On Potential Trade-Offs Between Mitigation and Solar Radiation Management. Christian Baatz

Game Theory and the Self-Fulfilling Climate Tragedy. Matthew Kopec

Who Should Pay for Climate Adaptation? Public Attitudes and the Financing of Flood Protection in Florida. Samuel Merrill, Jack Kartez, Karen Langbehn, Frank Muller-Karger, Catherine J. Reynolds

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