Why Climate-Change Skeptics Are Wrong

Kristin Shrader-Frechette

in What Will Work

Published in print December 2011 | ISBN: 9780199794638
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199919277 | DOI:

Series: Environmental Ethics and Science Policy Series

 Why Climate-Change Skeptics Are Wrong

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Chapter 1 begins by stressing the severity of climate change (CC) and showing how, contrary to popular belief, atomic energy is not a viable solution to CC. Many scientists and most market proponents agree that renewable energy and energy efficiencies are better options. The chapter also shows that government subsidies for oil and nuclear power are the result of flawed science, poor ethics, short-term thinking, and special-interest influence. The chapter has 7 sections, the first of which surveys four major components of the energy crisis. These are oil addiction, non-CC-related deaths from fossil-fuel pollution, nuclear-weapons proliferation, and catastrophic CC. The second section summarizes some of the powerful evidence for global CC. The third section uses historical, ahistorical, Rawlsian, and utilitarian ethical principles to show how developed nations, especially the US, are most responsible for human-caused CC. The fourth section shows why climate-change skeptics, such as “deniers” who doubt CC is real, and “delayers” who say that it should not yet be addressed, have no valid objections. Instead, they all err scientifically and ethically. The fifth section illustrates that all modern scientific methods—and scientific consensus since at least 1995—confirm the reality of global CC. Essentially all expert-scientific analyses published in refereed, scientific-professional journals confirm the reality of global CC. The sixth section of the chapter shows how fossil-fuel special interests have contributed to the continued CC debate largely by paying non-experts to deny or challenge CC. The seventh section of the chapter provides an outline of each chapter in the book, noting that this book makes use of both scientific and ethical analyses to show why nuclear proponents’ arguments err, why CC deniers are wrong, and how scientific-methodological understanding can advance sound energy policy—including conservation, renewable energy, and energy efficiencies.

Keywords: aerosols; agriculture; ahistorical ethical principles; air pollution; Amazon Rainforest; American Petroleum; American Association for the Advancement of Science; American Enterprise Institute; American Meteorological Society; Amory Lovins; anthropogenic climate change; Arctic Climate Impact Assessment; Arctic ice; asthma; atomic energy; Bangladesh; belief; Berkshire Hathaway; California; cancer; carbon dioxide; carbon-dioxide-equivalent emissions; Carl Hempel; Cato Institute; Chicago; children; China; Chris Goodall; Chris Smith; Clean Air Act; climate refugees; climate scientists; climate change; climate-change catastrophe; CO2 emissions; coal; coal mining; commercial reactors; compensation; Congressional Budget Office; consilience of evidence; consumption; Cornell University; cost-effectiveness; data-trimming; David Ratcliffe; developed nations; Dick Gephardt; disparity; Don Blankenship; Doomsday Clock; droughts; E. O. Wilson; East Anglia; economics; ecosystem; efficiency; egalitarian principles; electricity; energy crisis; energy policy; England; environmental injustice; epidemic; equity; ethical principles; ethics; European Union; expensive; externalities; ExxonMobil; fallacy; falsification; flawed science; floods; Florida; forest burning; fossil-fuel industry; Fred Singer; Frederick Seitz; gasoline; GDP; genetic fallacy; George Bush; George Gaylord Simpson; George Marshall Institute; George Will; glaciers; global temperature; global warming; government subsidies; greenhouse effect; greenhouse gases; Greenpeace; Gulf War; Halliburton; halocarbons; Harvard; health; health costs; heart disease; Heartland Institute; historical ethical principles; Hugh Montefiore; Hurricane Katrina; hurricanes; hypothesis-deduction; inaction; induction; Industrial Revolution; inference to the best explanation; infrared radiation; insect infestation; Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change; Iraq War; Jack Gerard; James Inhofe; James Lovelock; Japan; Joe Barton; John Locke; John McCain; John Morton; John Rawls; John Stuart Mill; Karl Popper; King Edward I; King Henry V; King Richard III; Koch Industries; Kyoto Protocol; Lancet; lobbyists; Marc Morano; market data; market system; Mary Landrieu; mass media; Massey Energy; medicine; mercury; methane; military; minorities; mortality; Morton's Fork; Naomi Oreskes; National Cancer Institute; natural climate variability; natural resources; natural-feedback mechanism; near-zero CO2 emissions; nitrogen oxides; nonfission nuclear technology; nonspecialist scientists; nuclear fission; nuclear industry; nuclear terrorism; nuclear proliferation; objection; oil; oil addiction; oil security; ozone; particulates; Patrick Michaels; Patrick Moore; Peabody Coal Company; per-capita energy usage; permafrost; Persian Gulf; petroleum-fueled vehicles; plutonium; politicians; pollution; pollution-related fatalities; poor; PR firms; Queen Eleanor; Queen Elizabeth; radiation; radioactive waste; reactive hydrocarbons; renewable energy; respiratory disease; responsibility; Rex Tillerson; Richard Lindzen; Richard Mellon Scaife; risk; Rupert Murdoch; safety; Science; scientific journals; sea-level rise; Sean Hannity; Shell Oil; smoke; social costs; solar-photovoltaic energy; Southern Company; special interests; Stephen Tindale; Stern Report; Stewart Brand; Suki Manabe; Svante Arrhenius; tax credits; thermodynamics; Three Mile Island; Time magazine; time-slice ethical principles; tobacco industry; Tom Donohue; UN Environment Program; UN Framework Convention on Climate Change; unborn children; uncertainty; United Kingdom; United Nations; United States; University of California; San Diego; US Centers for Disease Control; US Chamber of Commerce; US Environmental Protection Agency; US NAS; utilitarian principles; victim; Viktor Danilov-Danilyan; Wall Street Journal; Warren Buffett; weather; Web of Science of the Institute for Scientific Information; Willie Soon; wind energy; World Health Organization; World Meteorological Association; World News Corporation

Chapter.  16068 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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