Is Climate Change Morally Good from Non-Anthropocentric Perspectives?

Ethics, Policy and Environment 21 (2):215-228 (2018)
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Anthropogenic climate change poses some difficult ethical quandaries for non-anthropocentrists. While it is hard to deny that climate change is a substantial moral ill, many types of non-human organisms stand to benefit from climate change. Modelling studies provide evidence that net primary productivity (NPP) could be substantially boosted, both regionally and globally, as a result of warming from increased concentrations of greenhouse gases. The same holds for deployment of certain types of climate engineering, or large-scale, technological modifications of the global environment in order to prevent or slow anthropogenic climate change. For example, solar radiation management with stratospheric aerosol injections could benefit plant life by promoting enhanced photosynthesis, increasing diffuse radiation, and reducing heat stress. This has a surprising implication: from some non-anthropocentric perspectives, certain scenarios of climate change and climate engineering might bring about morally better states of affairs when compared to emission-mitigation baselines.

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