climate change

Hastings Center News

Climate Change Ethics Explained in New Primer

A new primer that frames the moral and policy issues around climate change calls it unlike any problem that humanity has ever faced.

“No issue demands greater care in balancing benefits and risks than responding to the threat of global climate change,” writes David B. Resnik, a bioethicist at the National Institutes of Health, in a new addition to The Hastings Center Bioethics Briefings.

The primer provides timely background now that the U.S Senate is considering legislation that would spend $369 billion over the next 10 years to transition the country away from fossil fuels.

While many scientists and environmental groups argue that nations need to adopt policies that drastically and quickly reduce the use of fossil fuels, others are concerned that the harmful economic and social effects of the transition will fall disproportionately on the poor, the chapter notes.

It calls for thoughtful deliberation and engagement from all sectors of society to deal with climate change.

The climate change primer is the latest in a series of highly accessible Bioethics Briefings, which are designed to help people better understand some of the most complex issues of the day. They are written by leading ethics and are nonpartisan, describing topics from a range of perspectives grounded in scientific fact.  Bioethics Briefings covers such issues as public health ethics; law enforcement and genetic data; environment, ethics, and human health; genomics, behavior, and social outcomes; end-of-life care; physician-assisted death; and abortion.  This free resource can be found at: