Professor makes moral case for action on climate change

Written by Ben Allen, General Assignment Reporter | May 7, 2014 4:45 AM

(Harrisburg) -- In the wake of a release of a report detailing the effects of climate change, Donald Brown, a visiting professor at Widener University's Environmental Law Center in Harrisburg, says the issue is about more than economics.


Brown studies sustainability ethics and law. He's tried to make the case that money shouldn't drive decisions about climate change.

"We've gotta see our moral obligations. The economic impacts of this are obviously important. But this is a kind of problem, you can't only think about self interests, you have to think about obligations to the rest of the world, said Brown on WITF's Smart Talk.

The National Climate Assessment details the impacts of climate change on every region of the US.

It says between 1958 and 2010, the Northeast saw a greater increase in extreme precipitation than any other region in the country.

"It's a moral problem. To think about it in terms of our economic self interests, ethics and morality wouldn't let you do that," says Brown.

"You can't only think about this in terms of economic interests. You have to think about the justice dimensions."

The report proclaims climate change is no longer a distant concept, the authors say its here and affecting every part of the country.

Few scientists question whether climate change exists, but many Republican lawmakers have highlighted the little doubt in the scientific community to question the theory as a whole.

Today's report also warns inland areas in the Northeast are vulnerable to hurricanes, but doesn't address whether they're expected to increase in the region.

Hear the full interview on the Smart Talk page.

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