In his book, “A Perfect Moral Storm: The Ethical Tragedy of Climate Change,” Stephen M. Gardiner writes that, although climate change is usually discussed in scientific and economic terms, “the deepest challenge is ethical.” According to Gardiner: “What matters most is what we do to protect those vulnerable to our actions and unable to hold us accountable, especially the global poor, future generations and nonhuman nature.”
Former EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt resigned due to ethical investigations into such matters as aides running personal errands and a sweetheart rental deal. However, the larger issue is that, as a result of Pruitt’s leadership, the EPA is failing to address one of the greatest moral obligations of our generation.
During his tenure as head of the EPA, Pruitt stated that he doesn’t believe that carbon dioxide is a primary contributor to global warming, contradicting the position of the National Academy of Sciences and 200 major scientific organizations throughout the world. Imagine the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention not believing that HIV causes AIDS and removing these references from the agency’s website, as Pruitt did with information on climate change.
Global warming doesn’t need to be a partisan issue. There are ways to fight climate change, such as a revenue-neutral carbon fee and dividend program, that draw upon our common values, and that would reduce emissions while protecting the poor and the economy.
One reason for optimism is that the House of Representatives’ bipartisan Climate Solutions Caucus has grown to 84 members, including 42 Republicans and 42 Democrats. Given the EPA’s obstruction, we must urge our members of Congress to take a leadership role in stabilizing earth’s climate.
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