The role of the affect heuristic in moral reactions to climate change

Journal of Global Ethics 6 (1):5-15 (2011)
Abstract
Many academics and world leaders have declared that there is a moral imperative to address climate change. But such claims often fall on deaf ears because the nature of the threat posed by global warming lacks many of the features of a paradigmatic moral transgression [Jamieson, Dale. 2007. The moral and political challenges of climate change. Working Paper, New York University, New York]. This paper explores these psychological obstacles to moral engagement about climate change. I argue that the temporal and psychosocial distance of the threat of global warming undermines the kind of affective response that motivates moral concern. I conclude by suggesting that images focusing more on the personal and short-term consequences of global warming will generate stronger moral reactions
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