Climatic Change

, Volume 130, Issue 3, pp 359–369 | Cite as

Framing an ethics of climate management for the anthropocene

  • Christopher J. PrestonEmail author


In addition to carbon dioxide, it is becoming increasingly clear that there are numerous other potent agents of anthropogenic forcing (e.g. methane, ozone, black carbon) at work in the climate system today. The typical ethical framing of climate change has not yet accommodated this complexity. In addition, geoengineering has often been presented as a Plan B that would simply counter unintentional (and positive) anthropogenic forcing with intentional (and negative) anthropogenic forcing. This paper attempts to better address the complexity by outlining an ethical framework for reducing all anthropogenic forcing, a position it labels the 'climate imperative.' The paper considers geoengineering alongside various other anthropogenic forcing activities and discusses what the climate imperative would say about each of them. On this analysis, GHG and black carbon reductions remain a priority. At the same time, the framing reveals a significant ethical difference between geoengineering through solar radiation management and through carbon dioxide removal.


Black Carbon Solar Radiation Management Soluble Iron Carbon Dioxide Removal Anthropogenic Forcings 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Supplementary material

10584_2014_1182_MOESM1_ESM.docx (111 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 111 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Philosophy & Program on Ethics and Public AffairsUniversity of MontanaMissoulaMontana

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