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Business - Global Climate Change, Arnold and Bustos.docx

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Philosophy 2074F/G
Michael Herbert

BUSINESS ETHICS AND GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE – ARNOLD AND BUSTOS  The climate is changing because of the inefficient consumption of fossil fuels and rapid deforestation  Instead of advancing their position via credible scientific papers, critics typically broadcast their message through the pronouncements of think tanks and self proclaimed experts  1980s the intergovernmental panel on climate change was formed in order to investigate these changes. The IPCC quickly gained credibility by offering cautious conclusions concerning climate change that were grounded in rigorous scientific studies  According to Oreskes there is a scientific consensus on the reality of anthropologenic climate change. Climate scientists have repeatedly tried to make this clear. It is time for the rest of us to listen  Global temperature levels have risen in comparison to pre 1800 levels and 82% believe that human activity is a significant contributing factor in changing mean global temps  The researchers reach the following conclusions: it seems that the debate on the authenticity of global warming and the role played by human activity is largely nonexistent among those who understand the nuances and scientific basis of long terms climate processes  Mitigating the impacts of climate change is critical to the world’s economic and social stability  The US environmental protection agency has stated that the science clearly shows that concentrations of these gases are at unprecedented levels as a result of human emissions and these high levels are very likely the cause of the increase in average temperatures and other changes in our climate  It is well understood in the scientific community that global warming and sea level rise will continue for centuries due to the time scale associated with climate processes and feedbacks, even if greenhouse gas concentrations were to be stabilized  Increases in malnutrition and consequent disorders with implications for child growth and development  And the altered spatial distribution of some infectious disease vectors  The IPCC estimates that 20-30% of plant and animal species assessed are very likely to be at increased risk of extinction if increased in global average temperature change exceed 1.5-2.5%  Bowie – no one has a right to render harm on another unless there is a compelling overriding moral reason to do so – he points out that this prima facie duty is commonly understood to apply to individual persons  Businesses must factor the cost of avoiding harm into the price of the product  Legal harm to the environment caused by businesses is regarded as morally permissible by society  Citizens who choose to purchase such may nonetheless grant tax relief for purchases of hybrid electric vehicles, thereby encouraging others to purchase low emission vehicles that contribute much less to GCC  Businesses have an obligation to refrain from opposing the preferences of consumers regarding environmental protection  OBJECTION 1 THE ABSENCE OF DEMOCRACY  Home to 42% of the world’s population – have nondemocratic forms of government  In order to provide normative guidance it must assume the existence of democratic institutions where they do not exist  The fact that voters accept a particular level of harm does not make such harm morally legitimate  OBJECTION 2 – THE ROLE OF CONSUMERS  It is unreasonable to believe that most consumers have an accurate understanding of the causes of global climate change  However, the large businesses that dominate the transportation and electricity sectors of the global economy typically have a sophisticated understanding both of GCC and the extent to which their own production, products and services contribute to GCC  Marketing the initiative to consumers must be regarded as an important priority  Not all environmentally friendly products will be successful  OBJECTION 3 – CONSUMER CHOICE  First, consumer preferences are not always satisfied by businesses  But consumers purchased vehicles based on the ability of the vehicle to meet a variety of needs  Consumers often have a li
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