The report recently published by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change leaves no room for doubt: “The climate is changing in all corners of the planet on a scale not seen in thousands and even hundreds of thousands of years. […] some of these ongoing changes will be irreversible for thousands and even hundreds of thousands of years ”.
Unbelievably, as the report says, there is still time to reverse some of the many effects of the damage we have caused. If we reduce emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, we could quickly see some benefits in air quality, “but it can take 20 to 30 years for temperatures on Earth to stabilize.”
Implementing the report’s recommendations, in addition to speed, implies facing many controversies and ethical dilemmas. There is an example.
Imagine that your advisers recommend the following to the President: channel part of the resources destined to control the pandemic, to develop a plan to address the climate emergency. What to do?
In the spirit of lending a hand to the President, I will share with him a method that covers five dimensions of responsibility, in order for him to approach the situation with more moral height.
1) Legal: Is the decision within the current legal framework? Could it be deployed without falling into legal disputes?
2) Economic: Is the decision economically viable for all those affected? Is economic viability compatible with government reputation? Does it ensure the greatest good for the greatest number?
3) Moral: Does the decision not violate individual and social principles? Which ones does it reflect or omit? Do you respect human dignity and rights? Does it represent a source of pride?
4) Social: Will the decision have social support and legitimacy? Could it be accepted in other cultural contexts?
5) Ecological: Does the decision not affect or negatively impact present and future generations?
Whether with this method or another, it is urgent not to neglect the observations and recommendations of the report; our present and future depend on it. Although it sounds exaggerated.