CREDIT: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/arrqh/4209387142/" target="blank">Arrqh</a> (<a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/deed.en">CC</a>).
CREDIT: Arrqh (CC).

Garrett Cullity on Climate Change

Jul 18, 2012

Since there is very little any given individual can do to address climate change, there is a problem drawing a line from collective responsibility to individual responsibility. Fortunately, philosopher Garrett Cullity has a solution for morally motivating individuals.

How do we assign moral responsibility for climate change? We can all probably agree that as a country, the United States is responsible to some extent. After all, it emits a lot of carbon, has the ability to pay for solutions, and knows it should be doing something about it.

But what about individual American citizens? Climate change is a collective phenomenon. It's going to happen—or not—regardless of what any particular person does. Individuals may not want to emit carbon, but they don't have much choice about their participation in the overall system.

Our guest today, Garrett Cullity, sees a paradox here. Although it's easy to trace the empirical relationship between individual carbon emissions and systemic climate change, he thinks it's not so easy to track the moral relationship between individual and collective responsibility for climate change.

You may also like

JUN 30, 2022 Podcast

Emerging Technology & the War in Ukraine, with Arthur Holland Michel

In this "Global Ethics Review" podcast, Senior Fellow Arthur Holland Michel discusses facial recognition systems, loitering munitions, and drones in the context of Russia's invasion ...

JUN 28, 2022 Podcast

The Doorstep: Responding to Putin's War of Attrition, with Atlantic Council's Melinda Haring

As the fifth month of Russia's invasion of Ukraine begins, Atlantic Council's Melinda Haring returns to speak with "Doorstep" co-hosts Nick Gvosdev and Tatiana Serafin ...

JUN 27, 2022 Podcast

Should American Nonprofits Work In China? with Freedom House's Michael Abramowitz

For decades, American nonprofits and philanthropies worked with Chinese citizens and the Chinese Communist Party. But over the last several years, the space for foreign ...