Over at the Acton Institute’s Power Blog, Jordan J. Ballor discussed the moral aspects of global warming and his thoughts are intriguing. In The Moral Calculus of Climate Change, he discusses why humans are blamed for global warming when the sun is the source of the heat. Because people are the only moral force in the equation. The sun, the earth, CO2, and a myriad of other objects are amoral objects. Humans are the only force in the equation with a moral aspect.
Hence the equating of pollution with sin.
“[O]nly a finite number of causes [for global warming], perhaps in most cases a single cause, can have any moral relevance. For a cause to be a moral cause, it has to have be related to a moral agent. So, for instance, if the earth is warming, one of the contributing causes is the energy output of the sun. Since the sun isn’t a moral agent (as far as I know), solar activity isn’t a moral cause of climate change.
“But if human activity is changing the makeup of the earth’s atmosphere so that it retains relatively more of the solar output of energy, that’s a cause that has moral relevance. Even though the sun’s activity is a prior cause (both logically and temporally) to any human activity, only human activity has any moral bearing. This might be a major reason why folks in not only policy circles, but also in more popular discourse, tend to focus on what humans are or are not doing that is affecting the climate.”
Definitely a good read.