Anthropocentrism in Climate Ethics and Policy

Midwest Studies in Philosophy 40 (1):189-204 (2016)
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Most ethicists agree that at least some nonhumans have interests that are of direct moral importance. Yet with very few exceptions, both climate ethics and climate policy have operated as though only human interests should be considered in formulating and evaluating climate policy. In this paper I argue that the anthropocentrism of current climate ethics and policy cannot be justified. I first describe the ethical claims upon which my analysis rests, arguing that they are no longer controversial within contemporary ethics. Next, I review work in climate ethics and policy, demonstrating the absence of consideration of nonhuman interests in both domains. Finally, I consider five possible justifications for omitting nonhuman interests in the evaluation climate policy options, arguing that none of these arguments succeeds.
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