Contemplating it, it seems to me that there are two general types of moral systems that can exist in our world. There are (1) the whole range of moral systems which can be in place elsewhere, without really affecting us, and then there are (2) those that can fundamentally affect the kind of world we and our descendants will live in.
Universal human rights
The conventional notion of human rights doesn’t give much importance to this distinction. It tells us that we should be appalled about the murder of journalists in Russia, the virtual enslavement of women in many Islamic countries, and the torture of political prisoners in Myanmar. We should object to these things even in cases where they do not affect the lives of anyone who we know.
There are many reasons why this point of view is admirable, and has the potential to help create a better world. The recognition that everybody is human, and that this carries with it some sort of universal moral standing, seems far preferable to the idea that some people are sub-human, and thus not worthy of any moral consideration. That being said, in situations of extreme difficulty, it is natural enough that we will stop worrying about the human rights of people in distant places, and become almost exclusively concerned with the welfare of those around us. That shift may not be admirable, but it is the kind of thing that can be recognized as a general practical necessity.
Dealing with menacing ideologies
Within the second set of value systems – those that do affect us – there is a further sub-division. Specifically, there is a division between value systems that are deeply threatening to us and those that are not. For European nations in the interwar period, both German fascism and Soviet communism were deeply threatening. For First Nations groups in many parts of the world, value systems based around the extermination of traditional languages and cultures were deeply threatening. Today, given the threat from climate change, value systems that permit the unlimited burning of fossil fuels are deeply threatening to everybody, though many people have yet to really internalize this.
As a result, we cannot simply permit such ethical perspectives to continue operating unchecked. Challenging them is both an ethical and a practical necessity. That means challenging domestic political ideologies in developed states that deny the need to deal with climate change. It also means challenging the actions of foreign governments and entities that continue to advance the world towards destabilization and ruin. Ultimately, that will probably mean intervening in the ability of the places like West Virginia, Alberta, and Saudi Arabia to burn or sell the dangerous fossil fuels they possess.
None of this will be easy, but denying the fact that climate change policy-making is fundamentally bound up with ethical issues simply obscures what needs to be done, without making success any easier.