A Perfect Moral Storm: The Ethical Tragedy of Climate Change by Stephen M. GardinerA Perfect Moral Storm: The Ethical Tragedy of Climate Change by Stephen M. Gardiner

A Perfect Moral Storm: The Ethical Tragedy of Climate Change

byStephen M. Gardiner

Paperback | February 5, 2013

Pricing and Purchase Info


Earn 194 plum® points

Prices and offers may vary in store


In stock online

Ships free on orders over $25

Not available in stores


Climate change is arguably the great problem confronting humanity, but we have done little to head off this looming catastrophe. In The Perfect Moral Storm, philosopher Stephen Gardiner illuminates our dangerous inaction by placing the environmental crisis in an entirely new light, consideringit as an ethical failure. Gardiner clarifies the moral situation, identifying the temptations (or "storms") that make us vulnerable to a certain kind of corruption. First, the world's most affluent nations are tempted to pass on the cost of climate change to the poorer and weaker citizens of theworld. Second, the present generation is tempted to pass the problem on to future generations. Third, our poor grasp of science, international justice, and the human relationship to nature helps to facilitate inaction. As a result, we are engaging in willful self-deception when the lives of futuregenerations, the world's poor, and even the basic fabric of life on the planet is at stake. We should wake up to this profound ethical failure, Gardiner concludes, and demand more of our institutions, our leaders and ourselves.
Stephen M. Gardiner is Professor of Philosophy and Ben Rabinowitz Endowed Professor of Human Dimensions of the Environment at the University of Washington, Seattle. He is the coordinating co-editor of Climate Ethics: Essential Readings (Oxford, 2010), and the editor of Virtue Ethics: Old and New (Cornell, 2005). He is currently co-edit...
Title:A Perfect Moral Storm: The Ethical Tragedy of Climate ChangeFormat:PaperbackDimensions:518 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.68 inPublished:February 5, 2013Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199985146

ISBN - 13:9780199985142

Look for similar items by category:


Table of Contents

PrefaceAcknowledgementsIntroduction: A Global Environmental TragedyI. Some AssumptionsII. Introducing the Perfect Storm MetaphorIII. Climate ChangeIV. The Wider Relevance of the ModelV. Outline of the BookPart A: Overview1. A Perfect Moral StormI. Why Ethics?II. The Global StormIII. The Intergenerational StormIV. The Theoretical StormV. The Problem of Moral Corruption2. A Consumption TragedyI. What is the Point of Game Theory?II. Motivating the ModelsIII. A Green Energy Revolution?IV. Consumption and HappinessPart B: The Global Storm3. Somebody Else's ProblemI. Past Climate PolicyII. Somebody Else's BurdenIII. Against OptimismIV. Conclusion4. In the Shadow of a Common TragedyI. Climate Prisoners?II. An Evolving TragedyIII. Beyond PessimismIV. Lingering TragedyV. Climate Policy in the ShadowsVI. ConclusionPart C: The Intergenerational Storm5. The Tyranny of the ContemporaryI. Problems with 'Generations'II. Intergenerational Buck-PassingIII. Intergenerational Buck-Passing vs. The Prisoners' DilemmaIV. The Features of the Pure Intergenerational ProblemV. Applications and ComplicationsVI. Mitigating FactorsVII. The Non-Identity Problem: A Quick AsideVIII. Conclusion6. An Intergenerational Arms Race?I. Abrupt Climate ChangeII. Three Causes of Political InertiaIII. Against UnderminingIV. ConclusionPart D: The Theoretical Storm7. A Global Test for Political Institutions and TheoriesI. The Global TestII. ScenariosIII. A ConjectureIV. Theoretical VicesV. An Illustration: UtilitarianismVI. Understanding the ComplaintVII. Conclusion8. Cost-Benefit ParalysisI. Cost-Benefit Analysis in Normal ContextsII. CBA for Climate ChangeIII. The Presumption Against DiscountingIV. The Basic Economics of the Discount RateV. Discounting the Rich?VI. Declining Discount RatesVII. Two Objections to "Not Discounting"VIII. The "Devil's in the Details" ArgumentIX. ConclusionsPart E: Moral Corruption9. Jane Austen vs. Climate EconomicsI. CorruptionII. The Dubious Dashwoods: Initial ParallelsIII. The Opening Assault on the Status of the Moral ClaimIV. The Assault on ContentV. Indirect AttacksVI. The Moral of the Story10. Geoengineering in an Atmosphere of EvilI. An Idea that is Changing the WorldII. The Problem of Political Inertia RevisitedIII. Two Preliminary Arguments: Cost and "Research First"?IV. Arming the FutureV. Arm the Present?VI. Evolving ShadowsVII. Underestimating 'Evil'VIII. An Atmosphere of Evil?IX. "But... Should We Do It?"Part F: What Now?Conclusion: The Immediate FuturePostscript: Some Initial Ethics of the TransitionI. IntroductionII. The Ethics of SkepticismIII. Past EmissionsIV. Future EmissionsV. ResponsibilityVI. Ideal TheoryVII. ConclusionAppendicesAppendix 1: The Population TragedyI. Hardin's AnalysisII. Population as a Tragedy of the CommonsIII. Total Environmental ImpactIV. ConclusionAppendix 2: Epistemic Corruption and Scientific Uncertainty in Michael Crichton's State of FearI. What the Scientists KnowII. Certainty, Guesswork and the Missing MiddleIII. Conclusion

Editorial Reviews

"Stephen Gardiner takes to a new level our understanding of the moral dimensions of climate change. A Perfect Moral Storm argues convincingly that climate change is the greatest moral challenge our species has ever faced - and that the problem goes even deeper than we think." --Peter Singer, Princeton University