What can explain the blindspot of mainstream politics that prevents global warming from being the biggest current agenda? This question is not possible to answer unless you accept the blatant assumption within it viz. that global warming should be the biggest current agenda that our intellectual, moral and political efforts should focus on. I believe this because I have read from various sources that it is scientific consensus that current levels of energy consumption will lead to global environmental catastrophe within a short time period. If you accept this, then this issue really smokes out all of the other important social causes that make up the majority of political discourse.
I don’t believe, for example, that democracy matters in the true sense of peoples’ interests being weighted equally and determining equally political outcomes, when – whatever can be said of the virtues of such an ideal – this isn’t the way decisions are made in realpolitik – the amount of political discourse about spreading democracy (even when we do not doubt the motives behind the polemics) demonstrates a political culture of responding mindfully to the most important aspects of reality as we currently are faced with it.
What are the philosophical systems most appropriate to dealing with this incredible practical problem – that through lack of will, the world’s economies and power structures are not changing to respond to the scientific evidence we have concerning climate change?
A similar question can be raised about culture – global warming is a commonly discussed in papers but it lacks emotional resonance, and even on BBC NEWS, where objectivity of perspective is prized, there is overwhelmingly more TV coverage of more or less irrelavent murder cases than to this issue which throws into tumult the ideals that underlie modern civilisation as developed by enlightenment thinkers (we could question the efficacy of a codified “Right to Life” when the melting of parts of the himilayas, and else, could deprive billions of basic sustenance).
Read another response by Thomas Pogge
Read another response about Environment, Ethics