K. Jeffrey Johnson: Ethical solutions needed for climate

What should we be doing, if anything, about climate change? One option, given the uncertainty of long-term climate projections, is to wait and adapt as required. Unfortunately this may burden future generations with significant costs. For example, consider the expense required to protect and repair our coastal infrastructure that is threatened by sea level rise.

Another option is to accept the climate scientists’ assessment of the risk and start mitigating now. Mitigation means changing our behavior in order to minimize potential future risks to our environment. An effective mitigation strategy is to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide we vent into the atmosphere. This probably will require putting a price on carbon, in order to incent movement from fossil fuels to renewable energy.

We should think about our ethical responsibility to leave the planet in as good a shape as we found it. We should choose to mitigate now rather than wait and adapt.

K. Jeffrey Johnson
Carmel, CA


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