EVOLVING TRAGEDY

Weisbach may concede that my intergenerational storm and tyranny of the contemporary analysis can explain the Kyoto debacle.11 Yet he insists that the present situation is different because the current generation (and its children and grandchildren) are threatened by medium- term impacts. By contrast, I argued in my book that a generation concerned with such impacts may still engage in climate policy that is unethical with respect to the further future.12 Faced with looming threats to itself (and perhaps its nearest and dearest), it may overemphasize adaptation at the expense of mitigation, substantially increase emissions to boost production of goods that aid short-term protection, or even pursue “parochial” geoengineering techniques that aim to hold off the worst for a century or so while imposing even more severe risks on later generations. Crucially, medium-term impacts do not guarantee even minimally decent climate policy, and may open up avenues for more pronounced intergenerational buck passing.

 
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