, Volume 33, Issue 3, pp 323-336

Ethics and intentional climate change

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Abstract

In recent years the idea of geoengineering climate has begun to attract increasing attention. Although there was some discussion of manipulating regional climates throughout the 1970s and 1980s, the discussion was largely dormant. What has reawakened the conversation is the possibility that Earth may be undergoing a greenhouse-induced global warming, and the paucity of serious measures that have been taken to prevent it.

In this paper I assess the ethical acceptability of ICC, based on my impressions of the conversation that is now taking place. Rather than offering a dispassionate analysis, I argue for a point of view. I propose a set of conditions that must be satisfied for an ICC project to be morally permissible and conclude that these conditions are not now satisfied. However, research on ICC should go forward so long as certain other conditions are met. I do not intend this to be the last word on the subject, but rather the first word. My hope is that others will be stimulated to think through the ethics of ICC.