Is It Ethical to Profit From Climate Change?

Reporting on a recent forum: Is It Ethical to Profit From Climate Change?

On September 23rd, 2019 the University of New England held a President’s Forum to discuss the question: Is It Ethical to Profit From Climate Change? The first speaker was Benjamin Ford from Portland where he is a lawyer. He spoke about legal actions involving climate change and how it effects business relations. The second speaker was Ron Sandler of Northeastern University’s Department of Philosophy and Religion and he spoke about the ethical dilemmas that come with climate change initiatives. Dr. Barry Costa- Pierce, director of UNE North was the moderator of the discussion. Many audience members voiced their own opinions about this sensitive issue.

Both parties seemed to agree that it is ethical to profit from climate change, as long as they are helping to prevent climate change during the process. Sandler specifically said, “It’s okay to profit from things that would help mitigate [climate change].” Individuals and companies are actively working to encourage more sustainable ways of living, such as purchasing eco-friendly products as well as focusing on production and energy that goes into all of these products. Sustainability is becoming more of a loose term and it is important for people to understand the true meaning behind it: the ability to exist constantly. 

The question about whether or not climate change is reversible was on the table along with the fact that over the past 200 years the CO2 in the air has increased by 40%. In the discussion, it was mentioned that we have the tools and knowledge to change this cycle but it is all about the manner in which we take advantage of these opportunities. Sometimes solutions are only viable for those least exposed to harms, speaking of the indigenous people in the Arctic who are taking most of the hit from climate change and have to come up with solutions more quickly.

By Alaina Duchin

Photo by National Geographic