Re-Thinking the Unthinkable: Environmental Ethics and the Presumptive Argument Against Geoengineering

Environmental Values 20 (4):457 - 479 (2011)

Authors
Christopher Preston
University of Montana
Abstract
The rapid rise in interest in geoengineering the climate as a response to global warming presents a clear and significant challenge to environmental ethics. The paper articulates what I call the 'presumptive argument' against geoengineering from environmental ethics, a presumption strong enough to make geoengineering almost 'unthinkable' from within that tradition. Two rationales for suspending that presumption are next considered. One of them is a 'lesser evil' argument, the other makes connections between the presumptive argument, ecofacism, and the anthropocentrism/non-anthropocentrism debate. The discussion is designed to prompt reflection on how environmental ethicists should orient themselves to the rapidly moving geoengineering debate and what they should think about the moral significance of the earth's large-scale biogeochemical processes compared to the moral significance of individuals, species, and ecosystems
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DOI 10.3197/096327111X13150367351212
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Geoengineering and Non-Ideal Theory.David R. Morrow & Toby Svoboda - 2016 - Public Affairs Quarterly 30 (1):85-104.
Precaution and Solar Radiation Management.Lauren Hartzell-Nichols - 2012 - Ethics, Policy and Environment 15 (2):158 - 171.
Aerosol Geoengineering Deployment and Fairness.Toby Svoboda - 2016 - Environmental Values 25 (1):51-68.

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