Climate ethics at a multidisciplinary crossroads: four directions for future scholarship
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In recent years, the field of climate ethics has grown into a truly multidisciplinary endeavor. Climate ethics scholars are pursuing both normative and positive questions about climate change using many different approaches drawn from a wide diversity of disciplinary and theoretical perspectives. Now, the field stands at a multidisciplinary crossroads, delineated in large part by two interrelated considerations: what are the key research questions most in need of multidisciplinary attention and what can be done to move the insights and implications of climate ethics scholarship into real-world climate decision-making. Here, we identify four directions for near-future climate ethics research that we believe are both in need of further examination and likely to be of interest to a diverse coalition of decision-makers working “on the ground”: geoengineering; scope of ethical consideration; responsibility of actors; and, hazards, vulnerabilities and impacts. Regardless of the specific questions they choose to pursue, multidisciplinary climate ethics researchers should strive to conduct accessible and actionable research that both answers the questions decision-makers are already asking as well as helps shape those questions to make decision-making processes more inclusive and ethically-grounded.
KeywordsClimate Change Ethical Consideration Adaptive Capacity Climate Ethic Solar Radiation Management
The authors gratefully acknowledge support from the Center for Interdisciplinary Studies in Economics, Psychology and Social Sciences (CISEPS), Università Milano-Bicocca and from the Chamber of Commerce of Como, Italy. Their financial contribution made it possible to organize the workshop ‘Multidisciplinary perspectives on climate ethics’ (September 26–27, 2013, held in Lake Como, Italy), where many of the concepts discussed in this paper were first developed.
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