April 21, 2024

Peter Singer on carbon pollution

As bad as nuclear bombs

The controversial
Australian bioethicist Peter Singer has compared a big carbon
footprint with dropping a nuclear bomb on Bangladesh. In an interview
with the Sydney Morning Herald he said:

“Suppose we were waging
aggressive war on Bangladesh, let’s say, and we were dropping lots of
bombs and somebody said we should stop this war, ‘we have no
justification for declaring war on Bangladesh’. And somebody else
said ‘well, but Australia has a big industry manufacturing bombs and
if we stop the war we’ll harm the economy because there won’t be all
these jobs’.

“Now I don’t think even
the conservatives would support that argument but what we’re doing is
not really very different. Now that we know the effects of our
greenhouse gas emissions, we are harming people in Bangladesh almost
as surely as if we were dropping bombs on them.”

Singer says that the
moral argument is compelling even if there is not complete unanimity
amongst scientists. “Even if it was only 90 percent of the relevant
scientists that are convinced of this, I think we would have to
listen to them. I think we couldn’t take the risk that what they were
saying was wrong.” –
Morning Herald, Nov 26


Michael Cook
global warming
Peter Singer