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

Authors
Trevor Hedberg
Ohio State University
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
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DOI 10.1080/21550085.2018.1448039
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References found in this work BETA

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.
How Harmful Are the Average American's Greenhouse Gas Emissions?John Nolt - 2011 - Ethics, Policy and Environment 14 (1):3-10.

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Citations of this work BETA

Climate Ethics with an Ethnographic Sensibility.Derek Bell, Joanne Swaffield & Wouter Peeters - 2019 - Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 32 (4):611-632.
Review Article: The Ethics of Population Policies.Henrik Andersson, Eric Brandstedt & Olle Torpman - forthcoming - Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy:1-24.
Philosophy’s Other Climate Problem.Michael Brownstein & Neil Levy - forthcoming - Journal of Social Philosophy.

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