Ethics and climate change: A commentary on MacCracken, Toman and Gardiner

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review

54 Scopus citations


Climate change is an ethical issue, because it involves the distribution of a scarce resource - the capacity of the atmosphere to absorb our waste gases without producing consequences that no one wants. Various principles might be used to decide what distribution is just. This commentary argues that on any plausible principle, the industrialised nations should be doing much more than they are doing now, and much more than they are required to do by the Kyoto protocol, to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. The commentary also responds specifically to some issues raised by MacCracken, Toman and Gardiner, including feasibility, the discount rate, and grounds for pessimism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)415-422
Number of pages8
JournalEnvironmental Values
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 2006

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Environmental Science
  • Philosophy


  • Climate change
  • Discount rate
  • Ethics
  • Justice
  • Scarce resources


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