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How Much Risk Ought We to Take? Exploring the Possibilities of Risk-Sensitive Consequentialism in the Context of Climate Engineering

Harald Stelzer and Fabian Schuppert

Environmental Values 25 (2016): 69-90. doi: 10.3197/096327115X14497392134928

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When it comes to assessing the deontic status of acts and policies in the context of risk and uncertainty, moral theories are often at a loss. In this paper we hope to show that employing a multi-dimensional consequentialist framework provides ethical guidance for decision-making in complex situations. The paper starts by briefly rehearsing consequentialist responses to the issue of risk, as well as their shortcomings. We then go on to present our own proposal based on three dimensions: wellbeing, fairness and probability. In the last section we apply our approach to a comparison of different climate policy options, including stratospheric solar-radiation management.


Climate engineering, consequentialism, risk, fairness, climate policy.

CITATIONS in other Environmental Values articles

Editorial: The Ethics of Engineering the Climate. Christian Baatz, Clare Heyward and Harald Stelzer

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