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PLCY742 Environmental Ethics and Justice
3 Credit(s)

Addressing the formidable challenges of climate change, biodiversity loss, pollution, and the unjust distribution of environmental harms and benefits necessitates a philosophical understanding and reassessment of the ethical frameworks, norms, and concepts that inform and drive public policy and shape society. This course examines diverse modes of valuation of and obligations to the natural environment, particularly as related to the normative bases of environmental policy. Topics discussed include the different roles of economic and environmental values and norms in policy, obligations to nonhuman animals and ecosystems, obligations to future generations, biodiversity conservation, and the “slow violence” of environmental harms towards the poor and marginalized. The course considers contemporary debates in climate justice, including questions about intergenerational and intragenerational justice, the distribution of responsibilities for mitigation and adaptation among countries, inequalities and vulnerabilities exacerbated by climate change, and moral hazard and other ethical problems involved in geoengineering solutions to the climate crisis.

Schedule of Classes

Faculty: Thomas C. Hilde