Altering Earth’s Environment to Counter Climate Change. Moral Corruption?
Deliberate alteration of the Earthâ€™s environment by humans on a large scale to counter the effects of climate change and in some cases to avoid having to reduce carbon emissions, could be called â€˜moral corruptionâ€™ according to a leading Australian ethicist.
Professor Clive Hamilton from the Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics (CAPPE) will raise questions about the justification of geoengineering in a public lecture at The Australian National University today.
“The geoengineering debate is poised to move to centre-stage when the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change for the first time considers geoengineering solutions in its Fifth Assessment Report, due out in stages in 2013 and 2014,â€ he said.
Â â€œBut many questions still remain about its moral reasoning.
As an example of geoengineering in action, plans are being developed to reduce the amount of sunlight reaching Earth by injecting sulphate aerosols into the upper atmosphere.
Since the Earth formed 4.5 billion years ago, the amount of solar radiation reaching it has been determined by the Sun, mediated by the Earthâ€™s atmosphere. It seems we are no longer happy with the arrangement and want to assume control ourselves. Is this the final push by humans for total mastery of the planet?
We have used many excuses for our failure to reduce carbon emissions. When we look for reasons to avoid doing what we know we should do it can be called â€˜moral corruptionâ€™, so geoengineering research may be a form of moral corruption.
Professor Hamilton said there were also some concerns that the knowledge generated by geoengineering research would be misused in foreseeable ways.
“Big energy companies have used their power to slow or prevent action on climate change. Any realistic assessment must conclude that geoengineering research represents a â€˜moral hazardâ€™, that is, it is virtually certain to reduce incentives to cut carbon emissions.â€
CAAPE is an Australian Research Council Special Research Centre spanning ANU, Charles Sturt University and the University of Melbourne.
For interviews: Professor Clive Hamilton, (02) 6272 6206 or 0413 993 223
For media assistance: Leanne Oâ€™Rourkes, ANU Media (02) 6125 4171 or 0418 307 213
WHAT: Public lecture â€“ the ethical foundations of climate engineering
WHEN: 12.30-2pm, Tuesday 23 August 2011
WHERE: Lecture Theatre 1, Hedley Bull Centre, Cnr Garran Road and Liversidge Street, ANU
Source: ANUatmospheric changes, Australia, climate change, clive hamilton, energy companies, geoengineering, global engineering, intergovernmental panel on climate change, moral corruption, moral hazard, moral reasoning, professor clive, realistic assessment, solar radiation, sulphate aerosols
Short URL: http://www.solarthermalmagazine.com/?p=12301