The anthropogenous greenhouse effect is in danger of becoming the biggest environmental problem of this century, with enormous negative consequences for mankind. In particular, it threatens to kill hundreds of millions of people. Unfortunately, the economic costs of preventing these consequences, according to traditional economic assessment, are gigantic. In The Greenhouse, Christoph Lumer provides moral evaluations of the greenhouse effect and of some of its alternatives, from utilitarian and welfarist perspectives. Relying on economists' estimates of the social consequences of the greenhouse effect and on psychological information about influences on subjective well-being, business as usual and three more or less severe greenhouse gas abatement options are assessed from the points of view of hedonistic utilitarianism and welfare ethics, which incorporate components of distributive justice. These evaluations and theoretical considerations about moral duties justify moral obligations to deal now, and seriously, with the greenhouse effect.
List of Tables
- Aims of this Study
- Methodology of the Welfare Inquiry in this Study
- Alternative a1: Business as Usual
- Alternatives a2-a4: Abatement Options
- The Moral Point(s) of View
- From Moral Valuation to Moral Obligation: 1. The Conception of a Historical Morality
- From Moral Valuation to Moral Obligation: 2. Application to the Greenhouse Effect
About the Author
Christoph Lumer is a Professor of Philosophy at the University of Osnabrueck, Germany.