03 March 2007

Political Not Ethical (Global Warming Again)

Aproppos my post yesterday on poor Al Gore, read this story in The Guardian today. Conservatives consider themselves clever. They portray Gore and other activists as hypocrits because, for instance, they jet around to advocate for environmental policies. The hook, of course, is that aircraft emissions are a huge source of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. The difficulty for those same conservatives is that they just as surely will be defenders of nearly unfettered trade and wide-open markets. As The Guardian reports, commercial shipping is a significantly greater (and rapidly increasing) source of emissions than is aircraft travel. And shipping is not covered by relevant international agreements. So, the point is not simply to return a kick in the pants to the conservatives (tempting as that may be!). Instead it is to reiterate my point - global warming is a political problem not an ethical one.

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2 Comments:

Blogger Meena Iyer said...

Hey wonderful write up!!
but still i wud say global warming is ethical issue!
I mean just coz of global warming we cant stop using energy..
but we can certainly know the consequence and cut the corners..
Infact it has so much socio economic consequences that it becomes political but it is basically ethical..
LOved your write up on algore.. ahvent checked the other posst.. but i hope you wont take this as transgression

03 March, 2007 19:54  
Blogger Jim Johnson said...

Meena, Thanks for the comment. Sould we all go out and but gas-sucking SUVs? Should we all live in 5000 sq. foot MacMansions and leave the lights on in every room and the heat up to 75? No. However, the housing and transportation systems (combinations of markets & public policies) we confront make it difficult and expensive to identify and access less less energy absorbing options. What needs altering if we hope to make a dent in environmental problems are the systems that sustain and encourage wasteful behavior. I think it is importanat not see "wants" too exclusively as the driving factor here. What we want is more or less directly dependent on what is available.

04 March, 2007 10:50  

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