Solar Radiation Management Through an Ethical Lens: Exploring Moral Permissibility of Climate Change Mitigation Through the Doctrines of Double Effect and Doing and Allowing
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In this thesis, I approach geoengineering from an ethical perspective, largely in regards to moral worries surrounding it. Solar Radiation Management (SRM) as a climate mitigation strategy both bolsters positive results and threatens morally unacceptable outcomes. Marine and environmental policy often dictates the livelihood and well-being of humans, animals, and environments without a formal ethical appeal to their moral consequences. In this thesis, I explore SRM via an ethical evaluation of David Morrow's "Starting a Flood to Stop a Fire? Some Moral Constraints on Solar Radiation Management." In his paper, Morrow attacks the notion that geoengineering is “not forbidden by any moral constraint,” or in other words, he hopes to manifest moral worries surrounding it. Morrow presents two widely-accepted ethical doctrines that speak to the worries surrounding SRM by raising potential moral constraints: The Doctrine of Doing and Allowing and the Doctrine of Double Effect. I present arguments in objection to Morrow’s claims raising concerns with diaganologies and false assumptions in his paper. Ultimately, I conclude that although SRM faces many moral worries about uncertainty, risk, and field research, Morrow largely fails to highlight them using the doctrines discussed. In other words, I present major obstacles he must address before claiming that SRM faces specific moral constraints. This type of commentary sheds light upon the importance of ethical considerations in forming policies, and the complexities that call for attention in such philosophical discussions.
- Marine affairs