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Global Warming and It's Ethical Dilemma

Essay by review  •  January 18, 2011  •  Essay  •  902 Words (4 Pages)  •  1,347 Views

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Global Warming and it's Ethical Dilemma

Global warming is a growing threat of apocalyptic consequences. Over the past two decades our climate has undeniably grown warmer and is not predicted to slow this unprecedented rate of change unless action is taken. Unfortunately, the heat has damaged the crops of developing agricultural countries that cannot afford the setbacks that Americans embrace. If the projected population of our planet is to reach nine billion by the end of this century, how can we fathom providing ample food and water for a world which is already so impoverished and starving due to the results of the last twenty years alone?

Peter Singer suggests that this dilemma “forces us to think differently about our ethics”. World leaders of the past viewed our resources as immeasurable and the concept of running out of natural resources and polluting our environment did not help shape public opinion. Recent years have shown man's ignorance and the irreparable damage it can cause. CFC's have depleted the ozone layer, even leaving holes in some areas, and devastate many more lives with skin cancer. The shocking revelation of our dwindling supply of fossil fuels combined with skyrocketing prices supports innovating new ideas for energy. Scientists further expand this argument by evidence that industrialized nations that burn fossil fuels are the leading contributers to the exponential climate shift.. Today's technology links people from all walks of life together in ways never imagined. One must accept the view that we are all in this together in order to solve the problem of global warming.

Singer examines many options and which one is the best based on being fair and supporting national sovereignty. It does seem fair that whoever has caused the most damage should be liable to do most of the repair. Whoever is deemed at fault in a car accident is forced to pay a deductible and can look forward to a spike in rates for years to come. But the United Stages, being the leader in carbon dioxide emissions, as a sovereign nation has not joined the Kyoto treaty to make a move in the right direction in limiting the noxious gases emitted by our cars and machinery. Distributive justice must be used to determine who should be held accountable and what that level should be based on each nations contribution to the current situation. However, in the “polluter pays” stance, the developed nations would carry a phenomenal burden if they were judged on their contributions throughout history.

In order to even the score it is necessary to start at a point when leaders were aware of the harmful effects of burning fossil fuels. Then acceptable emission levels could be calculated and those who continued to exceed a set amount could be reprimanded for their irresponsible actions because they continue to knowingly commit harm. To produce an equal per capita share also produces a great deal of difficulty because a standard of one ton of carbon per person is five times what it ought to be in America but India would be able to produce three times more tons of emissions than what they currently do. In

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