Climate and Ethics

See also Prof Brown’s Twenty Questions About Climate Ethics for Opponents of Climate Policy

h/t Willard


  1. I'm going to be really rude, not watch it and say: "no. we have this thing called free speech." If someone who's watched it wants to precis the killer reasons the vid supplies for overturning that, it'd be good to read 'em. "Holocaust denial is a crime in some places" - true, but should it be?

  2. Well, that's certainly the problem with bad headlines, isn't it? People just guess at the contents and get it wrong.

    Regarding your question, 'crimes against humanity' necessarily crimes, anyway? Is there a possibility that something is unethical without it being possible to make it illegal?

    “Holocaust denial is a crime in some places” - That all said this is a serious question. I imagine there has been serious debate about it somewhere. I think it gets very fundamental very quickly: what you imagine the purpose of law is. I don't think it is tolerable to make any sort of opinion illegal in the American political framework. But that's a real vulnerability and I don;t have to like people who exploit it.

  3. So nowhere do they actually ask, "are climate change deniers committing crimes against humanity?" or attempt to answer it? Gonna have to watch it, aren't I?

    I went to an inaugural lecture a couple of years ago, an economics prof who's lecture title was 'do we need market forces?' In the first 30 seconds he said, 'yes we do' - and then spent the rest of the lecture on some baroque and impenetrable corner of general equilibrium theory. As as way to get an audience to turn up, it was an excellent title. As a way to alienate that audience, he also succeeded!

    Not that this lets me off being annoying though. Sorry.

  4. Just watched it through to the end. The interviewer tries very hard to be sympathetic but her cluelessness gets in the way of the message repeatedly. And poor Prof Brown ends up trying to explain the science in spite of his determination not to (and his pretty much broad brush though correct view of it). So this is not as good as I hoped.

    There are other clips but the production values are dreadful.

    The key point is that a successful policy can not result from physical science and economics in the absence of ethics.

    But this also makes it clear to me how badly we are in deficit of the level of understanding Brown shows.

    I'm more than ever convinced that the people to do science journalism are scientists and not journalists. ANd this even extends to interviewing an ethicist.

  5. To get a better grasp on Donald Brown's views, see his four part series cataloguing all the morally dubious things that deniers have been doing.

    And it seems the arguments in this series have now been converted into three animations. I haven't had a chance to watch them yet.

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