Climate Change, Moral Integrity, and Obligations to Reduce Individual Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Ethics, Policy and Environment 21 (1):64-80 (2018)

Authors
Trevor Hedberg
University of South Florida
Abstract
Environmental ethicists have not reached a consensus about whether or not individuals who contribute to climate change have a moral obligation to reduce their personal greenhouse gas emissions. In this paper, I side with those who think that such individuals do have such an obligation by appealing to the concept of integrity. I argue that adopting a political commitment to work toward a collective solution to climate change—a commitment we all ought to share—requires also adopting a personal commitment to reduce one’s emissions. On these grounds, individuals who contribute to climate change have a prima facie moral duty to lower their personal greenhouse gas emissions. After presenting this argument and supporting each of its premises, I defend it from two major lines of objection: skepticism about integrity’s status as a virtue and concerns that the resulting moral duty would be too demanding to be morally required. I then consider the role that an appeal to integrity could play in galvanizing the American public to take personal and political action regarding climate change.
Keywords Integrity  Climate Change  Greenhouse Gas Emissions  Moral Obligation  Virtue  Demandingness
Categories (categorize this paper)
ISBN(s)
DOI 10.1080/21550085.2018.1448039
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Climate Matters.John Broome - 2012 - W. W. Norton.
How Harmful Are the Average American's Greenhouse Gas Emissions?John Nolt - 2011 - Ethics, Policy and Environment 14 (1):3-10.
My Emissions Make No Difference.Joakim Sandberg - 2011 - Environmental Ethics 33 (3):229-48.
It's Not My Fault: Global Warming and Individual Moral Obligations.Walter Sinnott-Armstrong - 2005 - In Walter Sinnott-Armstrong & Richard Howarth (eds.), Perspectives on Climate Change. Elsevier. pp. 221–253.

View all 25 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

It's Not My Fault: Global Warming and Individual Moral Obligations.Walter Sinnott-Armstrong - 2005 - In Walter Sinnott-Armstrong & Richard Howarth (eds.), Perspectives on Climate Change. Elsevier. pp. 221–253.
Climate Change, Individual Emissions, and Foreseeing Harm.Chad Vance - 2017 - Journal of Moral Philosophy 14 (5):562-584.
Climate Change and Individual Duties.Augustin Fragnière - 2016 - Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews.
Climate Change and Structural Emissions: Moral Obligations at the Individual Level.Monica Aufrecht - 2011 - International Journal of Applied Philosophy 25 (2):201-213.
Climate Change and the Ethics of Individual Emissions: A Response to Sinnott-Armstrong.Ben Almassi - 2012 - Perspectives: International Postgraduate Journal of Philosophy 4 (1):4-21.
Velferd Og Fremtidige Generasjoner.Hein Berdinesen - 2015 - Norsk Filosofisk Tidsskrift 50 (2):59-72.
Is There an Obligation to Reduce One’s Individual Carbon Footprint?Anne Schwenkenbecher - 2014 - Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy 17 (2):168-188.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2018-03-22

Total views
167 ( #40,990 of 2,237,233 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
90 ( #5,122 of 2,237,233 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes

Sign in to use this feature