Those harmed as the result of anthropogenic climate change suffer from a chain of causes and effects that is expected to visit its damage upon persons directly through extreme weather events like storms, floods, or heat waves, as well as indirectly through the heightened scarcity of food or water and impaired ecological capacity (IPCC 2007). These expected climate-related impacts threaten human security as they undermine ecological, agricultural, economic, and social systems in manifold harmful ways. While none of the harmful events is unique to a world of rising atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide, defying efforts to conclusively trace any specific impacts to human-induced changes to the planet’s climate system, the frequency and intensity of such harmful weather events are expected to increase as the result of human activities, threatening to increase the human harm that is suffered as a result. Regardless of how its harmful human impacts are experienced, the manner in which climate change is known to be caused—through actions that increase net emissions of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, including fossil fuel combustion and degradation of natural carbon sinks—has aptly been described as amoral wrong (Gardiner 2011), because avoidable harm is visited upon innocent victims as the foreseeable if unintentional result of the various activities and policies that drive current greenhouse gas emissions rates.
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