A public lecture by Dale Jamieson, Director of Environmental Studies, New York University.
Climate change presents us with problems of utmost complexity. In particular, climate change poses the largest-scale and most difficult collective action problem that humanity has ever faced. Considerations ranging from our biological nature to facts about our political institutions all bear on the explanation of why we have failed to act.In the face of such problems, two broad families of considerations are sometimes effective in motivating action. Economics can sometimes succeed in showing that particular solutions appeal to our interests. Ethics can sometimes show that particular responses accord with our moral ideals. Economics is severely limited in demonstrating that aggressive responses to climate change are in our interests because it is permeated with ethical considerations. Our hope for motivating action on climate change must therefore to a great extent turn on ethical concerns.
In this lecture Dr Jamieson will explain why this hope largely has been disappointed. Just as the problems of climate change overwhelm our cognitive and affective systems, and our ability to do reliable economic calculations, so they also swamp the machinery of morality, at least as it currently manifests in our moral consciousness.
The choice we face is whether to remain complacent in the face climate change, or undertake the challenge of revising our morality.
Cost: Free, RSVP your attendance to [email protected]
This lecture is a part of the Institute of Advanced Studies 2012 lecture series ‘Global Transformation and Public Ethics’. This series of free public lectures aims to stimulate considered debate about urgent issues in public ethics and policy as well as reflecting on ways we can improve public discourse about such issues.