Assignment 11: Climate Change
(A) Read the introduction to Chapter 10.
(B) Read Naomi Oreskes, ” The Scientific Consensus on Climate Change: How Do We Know We’re Not Wrong?,” pp. 608-628.
(C) David Keith, “Engineering the Planet,” pp. 690-696.
(D) Christopher Preston, “Re-Thinking the Unthinkable: Environmental Ethics and the presumptive Argument Against Geoengineering,” pp. 697-709.
Question 1: One issue that many find disturbing is that in US public debate there is skepticism about the scientific consensus concerning the reality and threat of Climate Change. Read the section in Oreskes paper entitled: “The Scientific Consensus on Climate Change.” Oreskes gives many reasons that support the conclusion that human-induced climate change is real. I would like you to find in that section as many reasons as you can that Oreskes gives that can be used to support the conclusion that there is in fact a strong scientific consensus that human-induced climate change is real. Please number them and explain each reason for this conclusion. (Please no fewer than 3 of them, and make sure that the reasons you explain actually support this conclusion.)
Question 2: In that same section, read what Oreskes says about “contrarians.” (See p.613.) What is a “contrarian,” and explain the points (at least 3) that Oreskes makes against the contrarians. Please number them.
Question 3: On page 614, Oreskes states, “So why does the public have the impression of disagreement among scientists?” If there is scientific consensus, then how can Americans think that there is “serious scientific uncertainty about climate change?” Please explain the Oreskes points she gives to explain this. Please give at least 5 of the reasons and number them.
Question 4: First, do you think that there is scientific consensus about human-induced climate change? What do you think of Oreskes points and argument that there is a consensus? Why do you agree or disagree? Second, why do you think that there is skepticism in US public debate? What is the reason? Is Oreskes correct in her explanation or not? Explain and argue for your answers.
Question 5: In the readings by David Keith and Christopher Preston, the issue of geoengineering is considered. Geoengineering may be a way to address the problems of climate change. Another way is called mitigation, which aims to reduce greenhouse gasses to stop global warming and climate change. A third approach is adaptation, where people just adapt to climate change. Explain what geoengineering is and the presumptive argument against geoengineering.
Question 6 : What do you think of geoengineering and the presumptive argument against it? Do you think it is an acceptable way to address the problem of climate change? Why or why not?
Question 7: Should we pursue a policy of mitigation, geoengineering, or a combination of the two? Or should we just try to adapt to climate change and do nothing about it? What should be done if climate change is a serious problem? If you were to endorse a policy toward climate change, what approaches would it involve and how much of each?
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