Peter Lee: Ethics And Climate Change Policy

  • Date: 16/12/14
  • Global Warming Policy Foundation

A new paper by Dr Peter Lee and published today by the Global Warming Policy Foundation explores many of the ethical disputes that characterise climate science and policy in the twenty-first century.

“Science has spoken. There is no ambiguity in their message… Leaders must act.” These words by Ban Ki-moon, United Nations Secretary-General, welcomed the latest IPCC Report as certain and indisputable.

But actions require choices to be made – each with economic and often overlooked ethical dimensions – and the uncertainties involved are greater than Ban Ki-moon and many of the IPCC authors publicly acknowledge.

A new paper by Dr Peter Lee and published today by the Global Warming Policy Foundation explores many of the ethical disputes that characterise climate science and policy in the twenty-first century.

Dr Lee is a lecturer in Ethics and Political Theory at the University of Portsmouth and the author of Truth Wars: The Politics of Climate Change, Military Intervention and Financial Crisis (Palgrave Macmillan).

Dr Lee shows that ethical considerations have arisen and continue to arise at every stage of the climate debate, from climate science to the current and future implementation of climate change mitigation and adaptation policies. 

“In a field characterised by extensive uncertainty a combination of good intentions and ill-informed policies can result in damaging unintended outcomes for humans and for the natural environment alike,” Dr Lee said.

“Democratic consent to whatever is decided will not be forthcoming if the climate debate is not engaged in the depth which Dr Lee demonstrates is necessary,” writes the Rt Revd Peter Forster, the Bishop of Chester, in the foreword.

Full essay (pdf)