Unprecedented: Can Civilization Survive the Co2 Crisis?

By David Ray Griffin | Go to book overview

14
MORAL
CHALLENGE

Climate change is a moral issue of unprecedented scope,
a matter of intergenerational injustice, as today’s adults
obtain benefits of fossil fuel use, while consequences are felt
mainly by young people and future generations
.”

– James Hansen, 2012

Reducing our carbon footprint is …
the human rights challenge of our time
.”

– Bishop Desmond Tutu, 2014

Fossil-fuel corporations, aided and abetted by political leaders and the major media, especially in the United States, have already put sufficient CO2 into the atmosphere and ocean to guarantee that coming generations will live on a much less pleasant planet. The crucial question now is whether the political world, with continued inaction, will inflict on coming generations a planet that is not merely unpleasant but hellish – a hellish world that, with still more inaction, will lead to the destruction of civilization. Or will the political world finally rally, acting fast and decisively enough to save a tolerable planet for our descendants? This is an unprecedented moral challenge.

The basic statement of the National Climate Ethics Campaign, which was started in 2011, says:

The U.S. has failed to take aggressive action on climate
change in large part because the issue has been framed
around economic self-interest: opponents of action claim
that the costs to jobs and the economy are too high;
proponents of action claim emission reductions will create
jobs and be good for the economy. Missing from this debate
is the deeply disturbing moral and ethical implications of
climate change.1

-227-

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Unprecedented: Can Civilization Survive the Co2 Crisis?
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page 3
  • Table of Contents 5
  • Preface 8
  • Part I - Unprecedented Threats 9
  • Introduction 11
  • 1 - Extreme Weather 24
  • 2 - Heat Waves 33
  • 3 - Droughts and Wildfires 40
  • 4 - Storms 54
  • 5 - Sea-Level Rise 68
  • 6 - Fresh Water Shortage 80
  • 7 - Food Shortage 94
  • 8 - Climate Refugees 106
  • 9 - Climate Wars 118
  • 10 - Ecosystem Collapse and Extinction 134
  • Part II - Unprecedented Challenges and Failures 151
  • 11 - Climate Change Denial 153
  • 12 - Media Failure 181
  • 13 - Political Failure 200
  • 14 - Moral Challenge 227
  • 15 - Religious Challenge 244
  • 16 - Economic Challenge 264
  • Part III - What Is to Be Done 301
  • 17 - The Transition to Clean Energy 303
  • 18 - The Abolition of Dirty Energy 362
  • 19 - Mobilization 391
  • 20 - Conclusion 421
  • EndNotes 425
  • Acknowledgments 503
  • Index 504
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