Gardiner on our interests and obligations

“The dominant reason for acting on climate change is not that it would make us better off. It is that not acting involves taking advantage of the poor, the future, and nature. We can hope that refraining from such exploitation is good (or at least not too bad) for us, especially in terms of current lifestyles and those to which we aspire. But such hope is and should not be our primary ground for acting. After all, morally speaking, we must act in any case. If it turns out that we can do so and still do well ourselves, then this is to be welcomes as a fortunate empirical fact, and no more. Given this, incessant hand-wringing about whether, how, and to what extent we might benefit from action is at best a side issue, and at worse just another vehicle for procrastination and moral corruption.”

Gardiner, Stephen. A Perfect Moral Storm: The Ethical Tragedy of Climate Change. p.68 (hardcover)

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