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3.8 out of 5 stars
The Ethics of Climate Change: Right and Wrong in a Warming World (Think Now)
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on September 14, 2008
Format: Paperback
In today's avalanche of books and manuals on climate change who all want to be your best friend and show you `THE truth', this book stands out not only for its refreshing outlook but also for its crystal clear facts. The author has evidently done his homework, and not just on Aquinas or Aristotle but also on the tangible scientific data which is the only way for us to have an objective look at today's situation ; this is truly a multi-disciplinary effort.

Let me put it simply, this book is a very straight-forward, well-written and rather different (at least when it came out) approach to the issues of climate change. Rather than guilt-tripping us into saving the Earth (which has largely been the media's strategy) for economical, scientific or 'just-because-we-say-you-should' reasons, James Garvey presents a variety of interesting arguments mainly, but not exclusively-sourced in the field of moral philosophy through topics like choice, government, responsibility (to name a few). The question presented here isn't so much `is global warming our fault ?' but, `why should we care and where does the responsibility lie ?'

Having read some of the author's previous works, I would further emphasize how well-written this work is and add that of the many philosophy books I have read, his writing is never pompous and he doesn't resort to sensationalist claims (he doesn't need to anyway), making the topics he researches, deeply enjoyable explorations for the reader.

The book thankfully falls short of becoming another of those 'the idiot's guide to...'/pop-philosophy books which are sometimes far too simplistic. Nevertheless, the author's arguments are informed by good examples which can make sense today, to those who aren't always well-versed in philosophical debates and issues, while still captivating the interest of those who are.

While this is clearly a call to action, don't expect 180 pages of brainwashing.

A worthy read and purchase which I recommend, even to those who are dubious about climate change, its cause and whether or not it is truely going on.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on December 10, 2009
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
Accessible in terms of the science of climate change and the ethics. A bit too wonkish for the public in terms of ethical reasoning -- seemed more like an ethics course lecture in places. I am an ethics teacher and if I were teaching a course this book would be considered as a text.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on November 13, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
I have used this book many times in my classes. I think that it conveys the science with just enough detail to present the problem but without making it so complicated that the eyes-glazed-over look begins. Garvey also summarizes some of the conventional ethical approaches to climate change and why they tend to fail with regard to a problem of this scope and scale. His examples work very well in the classroom and provoke discussion. I have tried some more dense texts in both philosophy and science, and none have worked as well as this one. Even specialists will find it to be a refreshing read because of its clarity.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on December 2, 2008
Format: Paperback
Garvey's writing style is like having a conversation with a good friend. Humors at times, the book is written in clear language that is both accessible and absorbing. The first part of the book gives a salient overview of what climate change actually is. A few well-chosen scientific findings are presented that clearly show climate change is happening and furthermore is linked directly to the activities of post industrial revolution humankind. This allows Garvey to establish credibility for the arguments presented in the second half of the book. Once this link has been firmly established, the moral and ethical implications are compelling and engaging.
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on January 20, 2015
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
The book itself has its shortcomings, but the digital reproduction of it is the main issue. Some words are clearly incorrectly transcribed, and the text is missing punctuations throughout the 6 chapters. Also, working with this text in a classroom setting is made difficult because no page numbers are available. Destinations can be found in the text, but the numbers I think refer to words, not pages. I cannot even select to go immediately to a specific chapter. That would also be an improvement. Please add page numbers! It makes citing Garvey near impossible.
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on October 11, 2013
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
A very good book, and one that spells out the basics of ecological ethics. My own view is more strident. I wish I had bought Garvey's book in hardback, in order to make more of an impact when bounced off of the heads of climate-change deniers.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on May 28, 2009
Format: Paperback
I enjoyed the book. The author has good insights and a keen ability of helping the reader understand the ethical dilemma of American consumption and entitlement issues.
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6 of 20 people found the following review helpful
Format: Paperback
I read this book with interest for the light that a contemporary philosopher might shed on a controversial subject, but was sorely disappointed. Garvey, first of all, ignores counter-evidence from distinguished scientists like Robert Carter, Professor Lindzen and Ian Plimer. He also ignores the growing body of evidence which shows that the world is in fact cooling (and has been for the past decade). He accepts without questioning the various IPCC reports, naively ignoring the evidence that they have been mis-reporting such issues as melting of the Himalayan glaciers, the alleged destruction of the Amazonian rain forests and the area below sea level in Holland just to name three howlers from the latest report. He also ignores one root problem about "consensus": the term is inapplicable to science simply because science is about verifiable information, and theories can be destroyed very quickly by new evidence. Many natural philosophers have found themselves in trouble for questioning the consensus of their times (Galileo, and more recently, Wegener come to mind). The latest recipient of the Nobel Prize for Physics is yet another example: he found that some crystals showed non-repeating long range order, but his first papers were rejected time after time by learned journals. Another example concerns eugenics, the object of which was to "improve" the human species by sterilizing those alleged to be weak or feeble-mined or otherwise mentally disabled. It was supported by a consensus of biologists and others in the early 20th century, but came to an horrific conclusion in The Holocaust when the principles of eugenics were carried through to their logical conclusion. AGW or anthropogenic global warming is rather similar, but this time, is supported by highly questionable computer models of the climate. The proponents of these models predict warming but the predictions are sensitive to the data used for analysis, and in fact accurate data is only very recent. The data was also kept secret for a long time, breaking all ethical rules of science, as the Climategate scandal demonstrated. The models do not account for the problem of clouds (which reflect the suns rays but which can also act as a blanket under different circumstances), and atmospheric water vapour is difficult to model as well. Water vapour is much more important as a greenhouse gas than CO2, but yet is downplayed or ignored in such models. So Garvey's understanding of the science is totally flawed, and all his deductions of the ethics which follows the first chapter are thus flawed as well. As a philosopher, Garvey should read or re-read Septimus Empiricus for the philosophy of scepticism, and the adoption of suspended judgments. As for alleged solutions, most large manufacturing countries have all rejected the IPCC reports and the many attempts to limit their carbon industries, especially China, India and the USA. China is an outstanding example of an under-developed nation which has revolutionised the quality of life of its citizens by its own energy. Now the likes of Garvey are willing to sacrifice other developing countries in his zeal for unproven theories. The carbon taxes imposed by the EU are at this very moment helping to make the current economic crisis far worse by the elimination of cheap energy sources, and putting EU industries at risk.

I cannot recommend this book at all, and suggest that readers looking for truth or reason should look elsewhere: the writings of Plimer, Carter and Lindzen provide a good starting point.
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