Pope Francis

Can a shift in the climate conversation from scientific and technical grounds to morality and ethics propel us to action? Amanda Rodewald, ACSF faculty fellow and Cornell Lab of Ornithology director of conservation science, explores in The Hill  

The Science and Morality of Climate Change

July 21, 2015

Pope Francis

Can a shift in the climate conversation from scientific and technical grounds to morality and ethics propel us to action? Amanda Rodewald, ACSF faculty fellow and Cornell Lab of Ornithology director of conservation science, explores in The Hill 

 

"The absence of certainty is not an excuse to do nothing," Christine Todd Whitman, President George W. Bush's Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administrator, once cautioned.

For decades, we have ignored Whitman's advice and done just that when faced with critical, lifesaving decisions about how the U.S. should respond to climate change. Despite years of scientific consensus that climate change is caused by human activities and will have dire social and environmental consequences — some of which we are already experiencing — we've been stymied at the policy level by counterarguments built almost exclusively around exaggerations of "scientific uncertainty" about the causes of climate change and the exact level of problems we will face.

Recently, however, there has been a shift in the conversation from largely scientific and technical grounds to morality and ethics. Last month, Pope Francis released an encyclical . . . Read more