Term Paper: Ethical Issue With Respect to Climate Change

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¶ … ethical issue with respect to climate change is the government needing to consider the condition of human life, the well being of people, and other species on a global level in the future. At the end, it is how prepared are we to take into account the responsibilities in regards to the welfare of individuals in other countries and future generations to come in the decision making process. Other ethical issues involve and are themed according to mitigation, adaptation, technology, and finance.

Mitigation involves the methods to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, particularly carbon dioxide, to a level that hinders a drastic and dangerous climatic change. It gives rise to ethical issues because emissions levels are equivalent to the amount of economic behavior that can occur employing mainstream forms of energy production and land use activity. As a result, the capabilities of developing countries to produce financial wealth and provide for the basic needs of its people will be hindered by the size of the emission entitlements they are given and distributed.

Adaptation regards how people and the community are able to cope with the negative effects of climactic changes that are inevitable. The necessity for adaptation will fluctuate with the success or failure of a global agreement in regards to greenhouse gas emissions to prevent further fatal climate change. Adaptation is relevant to mitigation in that failure to do the latter will have the greatest burden on those who are the most incapable to illicit a response and those who are exposed to the negative influences of speedy climate change. Unfortunately, these communities are those that are poor, impoverished, developing countries who are not able to conduct the actions adaptation calls for. The major ethical issue at adaptation is distributive justice, which is where the impecunious nations are the ones who contribute the least to problems of climate change and yet will endure the most harm. Technology involves the development and installation of alternative technologies that are green and environmentally beneficial. Finance involves who will pay and the amount paid to help with what both, mitigation and adaptation calls for in terms of addressing and resolving climatic changes.

The fundamental ethical values are the good of individuals and communities, solidarity and unity between individuals and within communities, virtues are the character traits that allow for rational agents to promote the food of individuals and communities or solidarity, and excellence in the good, solidarity, and virtues expressed in moral ideals. The four categories of ethical issues with respect to climate change involve the issues of distributive justice, which was mentioned previously, issues of compensatory justice, issues of procedural justice, and issues of human rights. Issues of distributive justice is when some groups or people carry an unfair burden in enduring the negative effects of climate change, especially since they had little or no contribution to the change. The ethical difficulty or dilemma is due to determining what is unfair and unjust in the allocation of the negative consequences and the distribution of the advantages of actions that cause such climatic alteration.

Issues of compensatory justice is whether the people who suffer the repercussions of climatic change are not the ones who caused it, can they claim remuneration from those who did cause it. Ethically, those who provoked and ignited the harm to others are held responsible and should compensate for the harm done. However, the texts and rules become vague in terms of global climate change because it is the result brought about by a number of variables like states, people, businesses, and institutions. Furthermore, climate change wasn't caused by the current generation but from previous generations so it is hard to assign responsibility to a certain group. Overall, It is hard to identify who caused the harm and who should be responsible.

Issues of procedural justice involve who should participate in the decision making process, whether to mitigate or adapt to climate change. Amidst this ethical issue, it is important to take into consideration the patterns of behavior that produced such change, and ensuring groups like that sick or the poor are able to partake in the decision making process regarding the change in climate. Issues of human rights involve the infringement of such rights when a certain threat is involved, which in this case is climate change. As well, the investigation should look at the extent in which global climate change has any insinuation for basic rights. It is because the interests of an individual and the public rather than rights should be given priority in an ethical climate change.

The resistance to abatement methods is because the costs of both, climatic change and abatement action are not distributed and allocated equally across regions and spheres. As a result, abatement strategies elicit a heterogeneous response, and to address or remedy such resistance, a scope of approaches and equipment may be accommodating to provide support for action and producing buy-in. In the end, coverage for cost-effectiveness is achieved for the country. In addition, while abatement produces additional benefits and advantages in evading climatic change damage, such advantages aren't directly displayed in mainstream GDP. Furthermore, resistance to abatement methods and mitigation is due to questioning the time frame to reverse the rising averages of temperatures; some say 2050 while others speculate an earlier or later time. A ceiling level of greenhouse gas emissions should be set and haven't. There's argument on what the acceptable levels of such gas are since some say it should be within the levels of 1990 while others say 2000. Moreover, some believe the current gas emission levels can be doubled without producing harmful effects while others believe there shouldn't be a level set for the market will set the highest level of emission, thus benefitting society economically. There has been a question as to whether the solution to climate change is to neutralize the current levels of greenhouse gas emissions by planting trees and/or replacing old technology with new, green ones. Zero emissions can be achieved or offset through technological means. However, some say negative emissions can be achieved when more offsets are in place.

Some are resistant to abatement methods because some questions whether the solutions and strategies is in lowering current emissions of greenhouse gas or it lies in finding more efficient and quicker ways to seclude the emissions. As well, some believe that since humans don't cause climate change, nothing should and can be done to alter the situation but let nature take its course. Skeptics question the effectiveness of fighting climate change by reducing carbon dioxide emissions. In this argument and reason of resistance, it is believed that humans induce climate change but cutting levels of carbon dioxide emissions will not have an effect. The money allocated and used to fund such efforts can be used elsewhere like in fighting diseases and poverty.

In regards to this resistance, abatement costs and responsibility to cut greenhouse gas emissions can be allocated through various ideas. An example would be through egalitarianism, which is a system that address and translate the problem, which is climate change, where each person has an equivalent right to a global resource. The Basic needs and Rawlsian criteria is a system where emissions are distributed by basic needs or acquiring the minimal amount. Therefore, countries that want more than the basic allocated amount, they would need to purchase more emission rights. The Proportionality and Polluter-Pay principle states that individuals should get what they put in but also pay in proportion to the destruction they created or caused. Under this umbrella, an option is comparable burdens and ability to pay approach, which is where countries that reduced greenhouse gas emissions in proportion to their burdens, and their capability to take on costs of reduction. Under the aforementioned principle, another approach is willingness to pay, which is where countries take on emission reductions and pay based on how much they can pay along with how much they benefit due to diminished emissions.

Greenhouse gas emissions should be distributed by the government, which might provide information about the science and economics behind climate changes, have a carbon tax on greenhouse gas emissions, subsidize clean and green technology, institute a cap-and-trade strategy, which places a ceiling or cap on the total emissions. Lastly, a command-and-control regulation can be implemented to require firms and people to take certain action, for example, using greener technology due to climate change.

The cap-and-trade strategy permits greenhouse gas emissions to diminish over time, and have been implemented in various countries. A prominent example is the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), and other places are forming emissions trading. Some countries are debating and wondering about the caliber of emissions trading plots in comparison to other methods. The U.S.A. passed a legislation that placed a cap on emissions, which was reducing to 80% below 2005 by the year 2050. China has decided it will attempt carbon trading in five provinces and eight major cities.

The moral virtue of cap-and-trade… [END OF PREVIEW]

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