Global Climate Pessimism

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Global climate change represents the largest and most difficult problem ever faced by mankind. These problems do not lie within our physical or technological capabilities. They rest firmly within the ethical and philosophical questions and difficulties that arise while searching for solutions. While there are reasons for optimism about the future of our species, there are far more reasons for pessimism. In this paper, my objective is to explain why I am, ultimately, very pessimistic about what the future holds for mankind on this planet. I would like to start off with a couple small glimmers of hope for human civilization. I would like to look back at the Montreal Protocol. This was an international collective action problem that should not …show more content…
Another small reason for hope is that as global awareness of anthropogenic global warming gains traction, governments will be more inclined to follow through with climate change agreements due to the pressure placed on them by their own populations. Unfortunately, the Montreal Protocol was only one success of many similar failures, and the time it might take for populations to pressure their governments to act for the future might, very well, be beyond the point of no return for global warming. The alarming truth about global warming is that the odds are stacked strongly against us in many ways. Gardener pegged the problem as a “Perfect Moral Storm.” As he put it, it is the convergence of three “storms” or dilemmas. I would like to start with the “Spatial Storm.” …show more content…
A terrifying implication of this fact is that we may have already caused too much irreversible harm to the climate, because the heating of the oceans will have a heating effect on the atmosphere, potentially, for hundreds of years. This means that actions of the present generation are not felt until future generations. This, in turn, means that any actions taken to reduce global warming will not be felt by the generation applying and funding these corrective actions. This poses some intriguing and difficult questions. Why should the current generation incur the costs for the well-being of future generations? How can these costs be deferred? I would like to compare this to an individual choosing to buy a house or rent an apartment. If the person chooses to rent the immediate cost of living is less, and luxuries can be afforded; however, the cost of living for future generations could grow exponentially for apartments and houses. Should the person choose to buy a house, the cost of living is greater, and luxuries cannot be afforded; however, a foundation for his or her descendants has been created. The world is currently renting an apartment that will not be available for future generations. The question is whether or not it is fair for the current

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