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PHIL 277C: Ethics of Climate Change (PHIL 177C)

Climate change is an ethical failure. When we cause greenhouse gas to be emitted for our own benefit, the gas spreads around the world and does harm everywhere. Many of those who are harmed emit very little greenhouse gas themselves. When some people harm others for their own benefit, something is morally wrong. Specifically, there is an injustice. One of the ethical problems raised by climate change is how to rectify this injustice. Climate change also raises a different range of ethical questions, which may be classified as questions of value. For example, in making decisions, how should the distant future be valued in comparison with the present and how should we take account of the great loss of human life that climate change will cause? This course investigates the issues of justice and the issues of value. It considers the moral demands that climate change puts both on private individuals and on public institutions. Because the effects of climate change are so widespread and so complex, the methods of economics can be useful in putting ethical principles into effect. The course will therefore assess some of these methods.
Terms: not given this year, last offered Winter 2016 | Units: 4 | Grading: Letter or Credit/No Credit
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