Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Climate Change Inaction: Crime of the Century

Drowned cities from climate change raising sea levels
Who amongst us has the right to destroy that
which belongs to others?
What is the worst ethical scandal in the US Congress? No, it's not about either Representative Charlie Rangel or Representative Maxine Waters. It's failing to act despite knowing that the inaction causes harm. It's like watching someone slowly bleeding to death but not calling 911 from your cell phone. It is
...ethically reprehensible because it is depriving tens of millions of people around the world of life itself or the natural resources necessary to sustain life. The failure in the US Senate to enact legislation to reduce US greenhouse gas emissions is a moral lapse of epic proportions. Yet it is not discussed this way.
But it needs to be. There have been 30 years of reports of increasing levels of confidence from the world's most authoritative and prestigious scientific bodies and organizations that climate change is real and human-caused, is causing increasing damage to our habitat, and time to arrest or reverse the damage is rapidly running out. Yet our government refuses to take action to fulfill its ethical duties to others to prevent harm.
Republican Senators who oppose action on climate change in the US Senate do so because such legislation would "create a 'national energy tax", warning costs would be passed to consumers in the form of higher electricity bills and fuel costs that would lead manufacturers to take their factories overseas, putting jobs at risk.

For twenty-five years, many American politicians have opposed climate change legislation on similar grounds that such legislation would harm US economic interests.

Yet, if climate change raises ethical questions, then strong arguments can be made that nations have not only national interests but also duties, responsibilities, and obligations to others. However, ethical arguments that could counter the national-interest based arguments are rarely heard in the climate change debate and are now virtually absent in the U.S. discussion of proposed domestic climate change legislation. We never hear, for instance in the United States that we should enact climate change legislation because our emissions are harming others. This is a catastrophic ethical failure.
While the US Senate and its so-called conservatives are certainly rebarbative, there is plenty of blame to go around.

No comments:

Post a Comment